Japan seeks calm ahead of Pelosi visit, “concerned” as China’s troops approach

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Japan has expressed concern over military exercises being held by Chinese forces near Japanese waters as international tensions continue to simmer during the recent trip to Taiwan by US house speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will travel to Tokyo in the latter part of the year. her Asia tour.

A Japanese official told News week that the Japanese government was “not in a position” to comment on Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan itself, but would weigh in on the regional ramifications as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army began a series of exercises to encircle the disputed island and extend to in Japan’s alleged economic exclusion zone.

“We are concerned that Beijing has announced several military activities,” the Japanese official said. In addition, the area announced by China for its military exercises includes the Japanese EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone].”

The official also explained that Tokyo hopes for calm in the Taiwan Strait and said its concerns have been conveyed to Chinese counterparts.

“Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is critical to the security of Japan and the region, and the Taiwan issue must be resolved peacefully,” the official said. “We have expressed all our concerns to China.”

A destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is sailing in this photo, published Aug. 2, to coincide with the announcement of Chinese military exercises taking place in waters around Taiwan, including maritime territory within Japan’s claimed Exclusive Economic Zone.
Eastern Theater Command / Chinese People’s Liberation Army

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying has retaliated against Japanese protests over the People’s Liberation Army’s sweeping maneuvers, which she called “necessary and legitimate in response to major provocation on the part of the US and its independence forces.” Taiwan and as a step toward firmly upholding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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She said Chinese authorities issued safety and navigational warnings ahead of the exercises and Beijing did not recognize Tokyo’s maritime claims as the two sides failed to reach an agreement mapping them.

“Since China and Japan have not yet implemented maritime demarcation in relevant waters, China does not accept the idea of ​​the so-called ‘Japanese EEZ’,” Hua said. “The Chinese side urges Japan to uphold the one-China principle and the spirit of the four political documents between the two countries and to be careful about the Taiwan issue.”

Half a century ago, Japan severed official ties with Taiwan in favor of mainland China in 1972, the same year Washington and Beijing signed the first of three joint communiqués that would eventually lead the US to do the same seven years later. However, both Washington and Tokyo maintain informal relations with Taipei, much to the ire of Beijing, which continues to claim Taiwan as its own and has violently threatened reunification if diplomacy failed.

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China and Japan also have their own territorial disputes, particularly over the Pinnacle Islands, known to Japan as the Senkakus and China as Diaoyu Dao. Taiwan also claims the islands and calls them Diaoyutai. The Japanese Coast Guard has regularly reported collisions with Chinese ships near the disputed islands, raising diplomatic grievances.

And while Japan, like most U.S. allies, has avoided speaking directly about Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan on Tuesday, the first trip of its kind for a speaker of the House of Representatives in 25 years, but the country did close. joined the rest of the G7, including Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US, in their condemnation of China’s military response.

Japan, Yonaguni, island, near, Taiwan and Senkakus
Japan’s Yonaguni Island, located between two zones where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will practice in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, is pictured on April 13. As Japan’s westernmost inhabited island, about 70 miles from Taiwan and close to the disputed Senkaku Islands, Yonaguni has seen an increased military presence as the Japanese government attempts to fend off Chinese activity in nearby territory controlled by both countries. is claimed.
Carl Court/Getty Images

“We are concerned about the recent and announced threat of actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), especially live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation,” the statement said on Wednesday. “There is no justification for using a visit as a pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for lawmakers from our countries to travel internationally. The escalating response from the PRC threatens to heighten tensions and destabilize the region.”

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The members called on China “not to unilaterally change the status quo in the region by force, and resolve the disagreements between the Straits of China by peaceful means” and argued that “there is no change in China’s respective policies , where applicable, and fundamental views on Taiwan from G7 members.”

We reiterate our shared and steadfast commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act transparently and maintain open lines of communication to avoid misunderstandings. statement to it.

After leaving Taiwan, Pelosi arrived in South Korea on Wednesday, which has also pushed for de-escalation.

“As a regional country, we hope that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will continue, and that relations between the straits will develop peacefully through dialogue and cooperation,” said an official with the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. . News week.

President Joe Biden, who has not publicly supported Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and said last month the military did not think it was “a good idea,” visited South Korea and Japan in May. The US leader took the opportunity to strengthen US alliances with both countries and demonstrate his administration’s “Indo-Pacific” framework, a strategy widely regarded as aimed at countering China’s influence in the region.

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