(Asahi: November 15, 2015 – p. 13)
By Takashi Funakoshi; Kenji Minemura in Washington
The U.S. government is supportive of the summit meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan, while the Japanese government is adopting a wait-and-see attitude. It takes an interest in the outcome of the meeting because the situation in the Taiwan Strait also affects Japan’s security.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated on Nov. 3: “Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in the U.S.’s basic interest. We welcome moves toward relaxation of tension and improvement of relations.”
State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau also stressed on the same day that “the U.S. and Taiwan have very strong unofficial military relations” and that “the U.S. has consistently urged the two parties to engage in constructive dialogue with dignity and respect,” expressing a positive view.
The U.S.’s basic policy is “maintenance of status quo.” It has not agreed to Taiwan’s request to purchase Aegis ships and new F-16 fighters in order not to upset the military balance between China and Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphasized at this news conference on Nov. 4 that, “Japan has long taken the position that we hope that issues relating to Taiwan will be settled peacefully through direct dialogue between the concerned parties.” He repeated the phrase “we are closely watching this dialogue” four times.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Taiwan in 2010 and 2011 when the Liberal Democratic Party was in opposition. He has met with President Ma Ying-jeou, Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen and other political leaders. A senior government official observes that “the Prime Minister is also making strategic moves to build strong connections with pro-Japan Taiwan because he believes this is important for dealing with China.”