World Japan Officials Escalate Concerns About Possible China Attack on Taiwan
The Latest: Taiwan schools open with masks, plastic dividers
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Schools across Taiwan have reopened for the academic year as the island's largest COVID-19 outbreak subsides. Schools on the island shut down in May and many switched online in the face of the island’s largest outbreak, which has since passed 15,000 cases. Taiwan is now reporting new COVID-19 cases in the single digits. Students will eat lunch at their own desks, which now have plastic dividers separating students. Masks are required, and classrooms will have exhaust fans to circulate air.Two giant balloons and music created a festive air greeting the students arriving for classes at Tienmu Elementary School on Wednesday.
Political leaders and senior defense officials in Tokyo have upped their concerns about the potential for conflict across the Taiwan Strait, further linking an attack onto 's own national security this week.
's Foreign Ministry said it expressed its "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to Japanese counterparts on Thursday following remarks by Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama, who spoke on the faced by Tokyo and Taipei during a forum hosted by Taiwanese think tanks the day before.
Taiwan gets first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines after long delay
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan received its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines Thursday after a prolonged purchasing process that gave rise to a political blame game with China. Taiwan had been unable to buy the vaccine itself directly from BioNTech, the German company that had partnered with U.S.-based Pfizer to develop the mRNA vaccine. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen earlier accused China of blocking Taiwan from getting the Pfizer vaccine through BioNTech, saying that they had all but signed the contracts when the deal was delayed indefinitely. China has denied any interference.
Nakayama likened the geographic and cultural proximity between Taiwan and Japan to his nose and mouth. "People say we are like friends, but we are not, we are family," he said, according to a report by the online newspaper Taiwan News. Nakayamawith his nose and eyes during a discussion with the Washington-based Hudson Institute in June.
The outspoken official said Taiwan was now a "key issue" in internal discussions in Japan's ruling Liberal(LDP). "The next leader's approach toward the Taiwan issue will be a major factor in determining whether they're fit for the job, no matter who they are," he was quoted as saying.
During the event co-hosted by the Taiwan NextGen Foundation, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Taiwan Society of Japan Studies, Nakayama reportedly repeated his opinion that Japan should reconsider its diplomatic arrangement with China. Tokyo switched allegiances from Taipei to Beijing in 1972—seven years before the United States—and unofficial ties with Taiwan have been guided by Japan's own "one China" policy.
Japan Keeps Intercepting China Military Drones and Spy Planes
China's unmanned aerial vehicles and People's Liberation Army warplanes have been detected in the skies around Japan on three consecutive days amid ongoing military exercises.Thursday marked the third straight day of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle sightings reported by the Japanese Defense Ministry's Joint Staff Office. Images of the drones were captured by fighters of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
At a regular press conference in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called Nakayama's remarks "extremely ridiculous."
Also on Wednesday, LDP foreign affairs official Masahisa Sato told Taiwan's Institute for National Policy Research that Chinese leaderintends to seize Taiwan and would increase military pressure on the island between 2022 and 2027, said a report by the Central News Agency (CNA) in Taipei. The period indicated by Sato would come after Xi secures a likely third term and before the 100-year anniversary of the (PLA).
The U.S., Japan and Taiwan needed to "quickly establish" a mechanism for trilateral defense cooperation before it becomes "too late" to act, he was quoted as saying. Sato said thewith Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party marked the beginning of intelligence sharing between the two governments.
China Flies Nuclear-Capable Bombers Into Taiwan's Air Defense Zone Amid Escalating Tensions
The move follows Beijing expressing displeasure over Lithuania's plan to deepen ties with Taiwan amid support from European lawmakers.China claims Taiwan under its "one country, two systems" policy, but democratically run Taiwan functions independently of the mainland and tensions have been high for decades. However they have increased over the past year as Taiwan has complained about repeated incursions of its airspace by Chinese military planes.
According to the report, Sato described in some detail how a hypothetical Chinese attack on Taiwan would affect Japan. To strike military sites in eastern Taiwan, he said, PLA forces would need to cross the Miyako Strait and attack facilities including the Kadenabase in Okinawa, where the majority of American troops in Japan are stationed.
The official said a blockade of Taiwan by China would threaten commercial shipping lanes in the Taiwan Strait andthat carry oil supplies to Japan and . Sato also stressed the importance of interoperability between the and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, CNA said.
On Tuesday, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told The Mainichi Shimbun that Japan would not be able to remove itself from developments in Taiwan, the stability of which is important to Japan's security and linked to the peace and stability of the international community.
The intensive Taiwan-related discussions also included remarks by LDP leadership contender Fumio Kishida on the same day. He told The Wall Street Journal that Taiwan was at the "of the clash between authoritarianism and democracy."
China Cautions Japan Against Holding Party-Led Security Talks With Taiwan
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying urged Japan on Thursday to reconsider its arrangements with the Chinese-claimed island.China opposes all exchanges between Taiwan and any country with diplomatic relations with Beijing, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press conference in Beijing.
"We cannot respond except by cooperating with our ally, the U.S. It's important to conduct simulations for this," he said.
Taiwan Air Force Expels China Warplanes During Anti-landing Drills .
Taiwan's Defense Ministry has confirmed air defense identification zone intrusions by a fleet of nine Chinese military aircraft on Wednesday.The Republic of China (ROC) Air Force tasked combat air patrols and issued radio warnings to approaching People's Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes, which were also tracked with surface-to-air missile systems as they entered the southwest corner of its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), Taiwan's Defense Ministry said in a statement.