Japan's defense chief highlights cross-strait peace in Vietnam

09/13/2021 04:23 PM
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Image taken from facebook.com/mod.japn
Image taken from facebook.com/mod.japn

Tokyo, Sept. 12 (CNA) Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi highlighted the importance of peace in the Taiwan Strait and the key role Taiwan can play in the world, in a speech delivered in Vietnam on Sunday.

On his first overseas trip as defense minister, Kishi made the remarks in a speech at the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense in Hanoi, one day after he met his Vietnamese counterpart Phan Van Giang, when he had mentioned Taiwan and reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region.

"... Taiwan is located at the nexus of the East China Sea and the South China Sea, which is a key point for regional maritime security. Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are important to both the region and the international community," Kishi said in his speech.

Regarding the dispute between Beijing and Taipei over Taiwan's status, Kishi said: "It has been a consistent position of Japan to expect that it will be peacefully resolved through direct dialogues by relevant parties."

Stressing that Japan and Vietnam share "the same destiny" and should boost defense cooperation for regional stability based on the rule of law, Kishi called Vietnam an important partner for Japan and urged the two countries to work together to address various regional security issues amid the present "harsh reality."

He pointed out that in February of this year, China's Coast Guard Law came into effect.

This law includes problematic stipulations in terms of consistency with international law, such as its application to ambiguous maritime areas and regarding the authority to use weapons, he said.

The legitimate rights of all relevant countries, including Japan and Vietnam, should never be undermined due to the Coast Guard Law, he stressed, adding that Japan can never tolerate anything that could heighten tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

He pointed out that countries in the region are now facing "an unprecedentedly severe reality, including in the security arena."

He said that in the sea and airspace of the East China Sea and the South China Sea, especially, there are cases where actions are being taken, based on one-sided assertions that are incompatible with the existing international order.

Freedom of navigation and freedom of flight must not be unduly violated, Kishi said.

To that end, it is important to repeatedly promote the importance of the "rule of law" and the basic principle of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and above all, to put it into practice, he emphasized.

In the East China Sea, attempts to change the status quo by coercion continue, including in the waters around the Senkaku Islands, which is an inherent territory of Japan, he said.

The situation is becoming more and more serious, Kishi said, with repeated cases of vessels belonging to China's Coast Guard intruding into territorial waters, approaching Japanese fishing vessels, he said.

In the South China Sea, China has continued to militarize disputed terrain, frequently conducted military exercises, and is believed to have launched ballistic missiles, escalating its actions, according to Kishi.

"Japan strongly opposes unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion and any activities that raise tensions, and shares concerns with Vietnam," the Japanese defense minister said.

According to an NHK report, the minister also made clear in his talks with Giang on Saturday that the fate of Taiwan is a serious concern for both Japanese national security and that of the rest of the world.

(By Flor Wang and Yang Ming-chu)

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