Sources in Japan and Taiwan say Japanese, U.S. and Taiwanese lawmakers will hold a “strategic dialogue” later this month to discuss responses to growing pressure from China.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency said Thursday (May 13) that the tripartite talks are being held to build momentum for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization Assembly as an observer. The talks will be held via video.
Taiwan was able to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” every year from 2009 until 2015 under the presidency of KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou. this decision-making body. China considers Taiwan, a long-standing independent and autonomous democratic political entity, to be Chinese territory and is therefore firmly opposed to Taiwan’s membership in any international organization.
Taiwan’s English-language news reported that Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ou Jiang’an expressed his gratitude to Japanese lawmaker Keiji Furuya, who facilitated the dialogue, at a press conference on Thursday. Ou Jiang’an said the three parties are still communicating and coordinating on the dialogue, and the exact date has not yet been finalized.
Keiji Furuya is a prominent member of the Japanese Diet who has been advocating for stronger relations between Japan and Taiwan.
The U.S. and Japanese governments have publicly expressed their support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, arguing that the international community can learn from Taiwan’s experience in controlling the new coronavirus outbreak. The G7 issued a statement last week in support of Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.
The three parties were planning to hold this dialogue after Tsai’s re-election, but it was postponed due to the epidemic. Communication and exchanges between the three parliaments are seen as serving the purpose of strengthening mutual relations without openly challenging China.
Neither the U.S. nor Japan has formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Tokyo is always careful to avoid offending its powerful biggest trading partner when dealing with issues involving China.
Sources familiar with the situation said Japanese and U.S. lawmakers will also discuss stabilizing the supply of key electronic components during the dialogue, Kyodo said. Taiwan is the world’s leading chip producer. There are concerns that tensions between the U.S. and China could disrupt the supply chain of the goods.
The dialogue is also expected to cover Taiwan’s membership in the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA.
Kyodo News said the Japanese lawmaker participating in the dialogue is Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Keiji Furuya. A special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will also participate.
Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan President You Sik-kun and members of the U.S. Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties will also be invited to participate.