Taiwan security directly linked to Japan, defence minister Kishi says
- Nobuo Kishi said as Beijing strengthens its military, its balance with Taiwan is tipping heavily to the Chinese side
- Taiwan is crucial for Tokyo, with the Luzon Strait to the south an important shipping lane for the energy tankers Japan relies on to power its economy
“The peace and stability of Taiwan is directly connected to Japan and we are closely monitoring ties between China and Taiwan, as well as Chinese military activity,” Kishi said in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.
“As China strengthens its military, its balance with Taiwan is tipping heavily to the Chinese side,” he said, adding the gap is widening every year.
Taiwan is crucial for Tokyo, with the Luzon Strait to the south an important shipping lane for the energy tankers resource-poor Japan relies on to power its economy.
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In the same statement, Japan, whose pacifist constitution leaves it heavily dependent on the US for its “nuclear umbrella,” vowed to bolster its own defence capabilities.
Asked how this would affect a defence budget that has been increasing for nine years, Kishi said a limit of 1 per cent of gross domestic product wouldn’t necessarily apply.
“Our defence spending should be based on what equipment and personnel the country needs for its defence, as well as the national security situation,” he said, adding that the country has not tried to keep to the limit since the 1980s. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to link it automatically to GDP.”