The US and Japanese militaries have drawn up joint plans to respond to a potential emergency in Taiwan, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday.
Citing unnamed Japanese government sources, the report said under a draft plan, US Marines would set up a temporary attack base on Japan’s Nansei Islands, also known as the Ryuku Islands, which stretch from southern Japan towards Taiwan.
The sources said if a “Taiwan contingency appears imminent,” the US Marines would receive support from Japanese forces. Since the plan puts the residents of the Nansei Islands at risk, legal changes would need to be made to finalize the plans.
The report comes amid heightened tensions between the US and China surrounding Taiwan. Signaling a shift in policy that has drawn the ire of Beijing, the US and Japan have been openly discussing Taiwan.
In April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and President Biden released a joint statement that called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” It was the first time since 1969 that the leaders of the US and Japan mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement.