TAIPEI — Taiwan and Japan should strengthen bilateral relations in all aspects, including military, security experts from the United States and Japan said Thursday.
Retired U.S. Navy admiral James Stavridis, former top commander of the NATO military alliance, told reporters on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei, that Taiwan has an important security role to play in the region, including through defense cooperation with Japan.
“I don’t think it has to be directed against the PRC, but I think it can be part of a collective security in the region, to include not only Taiwan and Japan, but also Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines (and) Vietnam,” he said.
Stavridis said Taiwan should work together with partner nations in the region “to create non-violent solutions to the problems we face here.”
His remarks came after he was asked to comment on proposals made recently made by another retired U.S. Navy admiral, Dennis Blair, that Taiwan should work more closely with Japan and take a more pro-active stance against Chinese aggression.
Blair, who commanded U.S. forces in the Pacific region, proposed that the armed forces of Japan and Taiwan consider making their own incursions into Chinese territorial waters or airspace in the same manner that Chinese vessels enter theirs.
He also said that the next time China sends its Liaoning aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s armed forces could conduct war-time simulations targeting the carrier.
Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel Wu Qian Thursday dismissed Blair’s proposals as “irresponsible” and “extremely dangerous.”
Bonji Ohara, senior fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, said that there is room for Japan and Taiwan to cooperate in all aspects, including military cooperation although it is currently difficult.
“Japan also has the intention to cooperate with Taiwan,” Ohara said.
Masahiro Akiyama, president of the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies, said that the Japan-Taiwan relations should be strengthened, economically, politically and militarily.
Akiyama said because it is difficult for Japan to promote military cooperation with Taiwan, the two can promote defense or security dialogues.
Satoru Mori, a professor at Hosei University said that while he supports closer military cooperation between Japan and Taiwan, it is better to proceed discretely to avoid aggravating China.
He proposed that both sides can begin with disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and gradually build the foundation for further cooperation.