Japan PM slams China missile tests



The Manila Times


Asia And Oceania

TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister on Friday condemned China’s firing of ballistic missiles during military drills around Taiwan, calling them a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens.” Five Chinese missiles appear to have fallen in the country’s exclusive economic zone, Tokyo has said, with four of those believed to have flown over Taiwan’s main island. “China’s actions this time around have a serious impact on the peace and stability of our region and the international community,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters after meeting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for breakfast. “I told her that we have called for the immediate cancellation of the military drills.” Pelosi is in Tokyo for the final leg of an Asian tour that included a stop in Taiwan, infuriating Beijing, which has launched its largest-ever military drills around the selfruled island in response. The 82-year-old politician defied stern threats from China to become the highest-profile US official to visit Taiwan in years, saying her trip made it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would not abandon a democratic ally. China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to retake the island one day, by force if necessary. Kishida said he and Pelosi discussed geopolitical issues, including matters related to North Korea, China and Russia, as well as efforts toward a nuclear-free world. Pelosi arrived Thursday night from South Korea, another key US ally, where she visited the border with the nuclear-armed North. It is her first time in Japan since 2015. Tokyo has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the military exercises, which began on Thursday. Parts of Japan’s southernmost Okinawa region are close to Taiwan, as are islets at the center of a long-running dispute between Tokyo and Beijing. Japan’s exclusive economic zone extends up to 200 nautical miles from its coastline, beyond the limits of its territorial waters. US will ‘not allow’ China to isolate Taiwan Pelosi said that the United States will “not allow” China to isolate Taiwan. “They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there,” she told reporters. “We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan,” she said, listing lower-level US visits to the island and reiterating that her trip was “not about changing the status quo” in the region. “It is about...all of the pieces of legislation and agreements that have established what our relationship is. To have peace in the Taiwan Strait and have the status quo prevail.” When asked if the trip was more about her own legacy than benefiting Taiwan, Pelosi replied: “This isn’t about me — it’s about them.” She called the island “one of the freest countries in the world” and “a great democracy with a thriving economy,” saying she was “proud” of her work showcasing concerns related to mainland China, from alleged trade violations and arms proliferation to human rights.