Japanese Lawmakers Make Rare Taiwan Visit to Discuss Potential Conflict

The delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen

A group of Japanese lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday in a rare high-level visit to the island that comes amid simmering tensions between the US and China.

Members of the Japanese delegation, which included former defense ministers, said the purpose of the visit was to discuss a potential conflict breaking out in the region.

“We need to think ahead about what kind of situations could happen, what kind of laws and agreements we should prepare, and what kind of armaments we could use,” said Shigeru Ishiba, a lawmaker and former defense minister who led the delegation.

Ishiba said that Japan was also working with the US to prepare for a conflict. In recent years, the US has stepped up support for Taiwan and increased its military presence in the region, making a conflict with China over the island more likely.

Beijing’s stance is that it seeks peaceful reunification with Taiwan but has warned repeatedly that the issue is a red line and that if the US supports the island’s “independence forces,” it will lead to war.

Japan is essential to the US’s plans to boost alliances in the region to encircle China, and Washington is encouraging Tokyo to expand its military. Analysts told The South China Morning Post that a conflict sparked by US intervention in Taiwan could leave Japan and other US allies in the region badly exposed, and in the middle of a situation they have not properly planned for.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan risks sparking a major crisis across the Taiwan Strait, Biden administration officials have warned. Despite the risk, the administration insists it cannot stop her from going.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.