MOFA looking to aftermath of U.S.-Japan security meeting - Focus Taiwan

MOFA looking to aftermath of U.S.-Japan security meeting

Image taken from the U.S. State Department
Image taken from the U.S. State Department's Twitter account

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday it will keep a close eye on the regional situation after the United States and Japan agreed at a security meeting Friday to oppose any unilateral action to alter the status quo in the East China Sea.

In a statement, the MOFA said it had a positive view of the latest session of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee held in Washington because the two countries focused heavily on regional issues.

The ministry said it will continue to watch developments in the region after Washington and Tokyo reaffirmed that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. security treaty applies to the Diaoyutai Islands, a disputed group of islets in the East China Sea.

Article 5 stipulates that an armed assault on Japan or U.S. troops based in Japan would trigger action by the U.S. under the agreement to guarantee the safety of its ally.

MOFA said that as a responsible stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan will work with like-minded countries to continue to serve as a driver of regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The U.S. Department of Defense said on its website that the U.S.-Japan alliance has become "the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and remains iron-clad amid an increasingly complex security environment."

Officials from the U.S. and Japan at the security meeting expressed their strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the South China Sea, which was perceived as a veiled criticism of Beijing's efforts to build up its military clout in the disputed area.

In addition, the U.S. and Japan also vowed that both sides will strengthen coordination efforts -- both bilaterally and multilaterally -- to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The Diaoyutai Islands, also known as the Senkakus in Tokyo, are administered and controlled by Japan but also claimed by Taiwan and China. China often dispatches patrol boats to the waters off the Diaoyutai Islands, which has raised alarms in Tokyo.

(By Elaine Hou and Frances Huang)


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