Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has warned that it would be “suicidal” for Beijing to invade Taiwan , amid rising tensions in the region. He also said Taiwan, Japan and the United States must strengthen their capabilities and work together to counter security threats. Abe – who remains influential in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan – made the comments in a video address to the Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei on Tuesday. “An adventure in military affairs, if pursued by such a huge economy like China’s, could be suicidal to say the least,” Abe said. “We must urge them not to pursue territorial expansion and restrain from provoking, often bullying, their neighbours because it would harm their own interests.” Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to bring the self-governed island under its control. It has warned Japan, the US and other countries against having official contacts with Taipei or offering military support for the island, especially since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was elected president and refused to accept the one-China principle. Abe said there was a threat to Taiwan and its democracy, which was “a dire challenge to all of us, especially to Japan”. He said Japan, the US and Taiwan should spare no effort in “building our capabilities in all domains – from the undersea, sea surface, air space to the cyber and outer space” to counter security threats in the region. “Lest we forget, weakness invites provocations,” he said. Abe also called for more partners to work with, to deal with those threats. “With that in mind, I worked hard first to reinvest into the alliance with the US, second to widen our boundary from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific, and third to launch the Quad process,” he said, referring to the security grouping of Japan, the US, India and Australia. It follows similar remarks by Abe during a Taiwanese think tank forum on December 1, when he said any Taiwan emergency would also be an emergency for Japan, and for the Japanese-US security alliance. Abe elaborated on this on a Japanese television programme that aired on Monday, saying an attack on a US military vessel in any contingency concerning Taiwan could be a situation that would allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defence, according to Kyodo. He noted that Yonaguni Island – Japan’s westernmost territory – was only 110km (68 miles) away from Taiwan. “If something happens here, it will definitely become a crucial situation” affecting Japan’s peace and security as set out in its security legislation, he was quoted as saying by Kyodo. On Tuesday, Abe also said that as a democratic entity, Taiwan should be part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. Taiwan applied to join the 11-nation trade pact in September, a week after Beijing. “Jointly, Australia and Japan brought TPP [the trade pact’s predecessor] into place. It is a group of economies that hold the rules-based order very much dear,” he said. “That is why the UK does qualify as a member, and so does Taiwan without doubt.” The former Japanese prime minister also called on Japan, the US and other like-minded countries to support Taiwan to take part in international bodies, something Beijing has blocked. “The World Health Organization comes on top of the list. There are many others. That is one important way for us to sow seeds of hope for the next generations of the Taiwanese,” he said. Abe has been highly vocal in supporting Taiwan since he stepped down as prime minister in 2020. Beijing was angered by his December 1 remarks that Japan and the US could not stand by if Taiwan was attacked. The Japanese ambassador was summoned and told that Beijing might “reconsider” bilateral relations with Tokyo if Japan took further action on Taiwan.