Japan, U.S. agree to work together on Taiwan Strait

Japan, U.S. agree to work together on Taiwan Strait

On Friday, Japan and the United States agreed to work together on maintaining peace in the increasingly tense Taiwan Strait, amid unprecedented military drills by China including five missiles that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in Japan on the last stage of an Asian trip that included a brief and unannounced stop in Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing considers its own, in the highest-level visit by a U.S. official in 25 years.

During her visit, she lauded Taiwan's democracy and pledged solidarity, infuriated China and touched off military exercises that a state broadcaster said would be the largest by China in the Taiwan Strait, including live firing on the waters and airspace around the island.

Five missiles landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone EEZ, prompting Tokyo to lodge a strong protest through diplomatic channels.

One of Washington's closest allies, Tokyo has been increasingly alarmed by China's growing might in the Indo-Pacific and the possibility that Beijing could take military action against Taiwan.

Pelosi met with the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at his official residence, where Kishida said the two allies would work together to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, a key shipping route.

Japan, whose southernmost islands are closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, has warned that Chinese intimidation of Taiwan is an escalating national security threat.

I have informed Speaker Pelosi that China's ballistic missiles have landed near Japanese water, including EEZ, threatens our national safety and security, and that Japan has strongly condemned such actions, Kishida said.

We also confirmed a continued cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the strait of Taiwan. On Thursday, tensions between Japan and China went up again when a meeting between the two nations' foreign ministers was called off due to its displeasure with a G 7 statement urging Beijing to resolve the Taiwan tension peacefully.

Pelosi arrived in Japan after a visit to South Korea on Thursday, where she pledged to denuclearise North Korea. She will meet her Japanese counterpart, Hiroyuki Hosoda, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament later on Friday.

While visiting Japan in May, U.S. President Joe Biden said that he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan - a comment that seemed to stretch the limits of the U.S. policy of strategic ambiguity towards the island.

Kishida told Biden that Japan would increase its defence spending. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party LDP has pledged to double military spending to 2% of GDP.