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Taiwan thanks Japan over support for cross-strait peace, stability

ROC Central News Agency

03/22/2021 03:46 PM

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday thanked Japan after Japanese media reported the nation's defense minister last week said Tokyo is studying the feasibility of helping the United States defend Taiwan in the event of a cross-Taiwan Strait crisis.

During their meeting in Tokyo on March 16 Japanese and U.S. defense chiefs discussed closely cooperating in the event of a military clash between China and Taiwan, Japanese government sources told Tokyo-based Kyodo News Saturday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raised the issue in talks with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, though there was no discussion on how the countries would coordinate their response in such an emergency, the sources added.

According to Kyodo News, Kishi told Austin that Tokyo has been reviewing the feasibility of sending Japanese Self-Defense Forces to cooperate with U.S. forces defending Taiwan in the event of Chinese aggression, "given the strait's geographical proximity and the possibility of an armed conflict there affecting the safety of Japanese citizens."

Tokyo and Washington have not confirmed the Kyodo News report.

A public statement issued after the talks by Kishi and Austin called only for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Asked to comment, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Monday said Taiwan's government thanks the U.S. and Japan for stressing the importance of maintaining cross-strait peace and stability.

The spokeswoman added that Taiwan will continue to work closely with the U.S., Japan, and other like-minded countries to jointly defend democracy and the rules-based international order and to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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