TAIPEI (CNA) — Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on March 5 said he respected the Japanese government’s reported rejection of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) recent proposal for Tokyo to engage in an official security dialogue with Taipei.
Tsai made the proposal during an interview published Saturday in Japan’s Sankei Shimbun in which she welcomed dialogue with Japan at the governmental level to discuss security issues.
The president said in the interview that substantive cooperation between Taiwan and Japan was necessary, particularly on security threats in East Asia.
Following the interview, both China’s Global Times and Taiwan’s United Daily News reported that the Japanese government would not consider Tsai’s proposal, citing unnamed officials.
The officials told the two media outlets that Japan abides by the Japan-China Joint Communiqué in its policy toward Taiwan and that nothing has changed regarding the nature of Japan’s unofficial relationship with Taiwan.
When asked about the reported rejection by lawmakers at a legislative hearing in Taipei on Tuesday, Su said he respected Japan’s stance.
“As a member of the regional and international community, Taiwan has always done its best to maintain peace and stability,” Su said.
“Taiwan also wishes to work more closely with nearby democratic countries to maintain peace and stability in the region, while upholding its sovereignty,” Su said, while noting that he fully respected each country’s position on the issue.
Tsai’s proposal was made in view of the lack of direct dialogue or framework for cooperation between Taiwan and Japan in areas such as security and the lack of movement in that direction because Tokyo and Taipei do not have formal diplomatic ties, the Sankei Shimbun reported.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said, however, that the ministry would continue to communicate with Japan on the security dialogue proposal.
He confirmed that the government has already received information from Japan on the matter, but he declined to disclose details out of respect for the Japanese side.
Lee said Tsai made her proposal to draw the attention of Japan and other countries to the need of facing the reality that the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region has already changed.
That was why the president called on Taiwan and Japan to work closely to enhance security dialogue and cooperation, he said.
By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Joseph Yeh