TOKYO – Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Japan on Monday requested at a ruling party meeting that Taiwan affairs be discussed by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden in their upcoming summit, amid China’s military rise, according to a participant.
Frank Hsieh, head of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, made the request and expressed concern over China’s increased pressure on the self-ruled island, when he was invited to a meeting in Tokyo of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, according to the participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Taiwan is strategically crucial to the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Hsieh said at the outset of the meeting, which was open to the press.
Hsieh also said Taiwan and Japan share universal values such as freedom and similar trade interests, adding relations between them are based on a “common destiny.”
LDP lawmaker Masahisa Sato, who heads a project team on Taiwan issues, said, “Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait should be thoroughly discussed at the Japan-U.S. summit and included in a joint statement.”
Although China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 after a civil war, Beijing continues to see the island as a renegade province awaiting reunification, if necessary by force.
Suga, who leads the LDP, and Biden are slated to meet in Washington on April 16, with issues involving China, ranging from its assertiveness in the South and East China seas to human rights abuses, expected to be high on the agenda.
It will be the U.S. president’s first in-person summit with a foreign leader since taking office in January.