TOKYO – Japan said Tuesday it will continue to deepen its ties with Taiwan on a nongovernmental basis after China protested Tokyo’s congratulatory statement over the re-election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Taiwan shares basic values and close economic ties with Japan and it is an “important partner and precious friend” of Japan.
“Based on our conventional stance to maintain a working-level relationship on a nongovernmental basis, we hope to boost cooperation and exchanges with Taiwan,” the top government spokesman said at a press conference.
Tsai of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party claimed victory in Saturday’s election amid fears that Communist-led China will try to achieve its goal of reuniting self-governing, democratic Taiwan with the mainland by force if necessary.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi expressed congratulations on Tsai’s victory, saying in a statement that Japan expects issues surrounding Taiwan will be resolved “peacefully by direct dialogue.”
As Britain and the United States also congratulated her, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Sunday that Beijing deplores and firmly opposes the move as a “violation of the one China principle.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping renewed calls in January 2019 for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan but did not renounce the use of force against those who advocate independence for the self-governing island.