The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday hit back at Japan over comments made by a Japanese official about Tokyo potentially assisting Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
Toshiro Ino, Japan’s minister of state for defense, made the comments in an interview with The Telegraph that was published Sunday. He said if countries around the world support Taiwan like the US and its allies are backing Ukraine, then it “would be very possible that we will provide some kind of support to Taiwan.”
Ino said he’s unsure if it would mean military aid or other types of support. “I am not sure at this juncture whether it is going to be defense equipment support or whether it is going to be logistics support,” he told the paper.
Responding to Ino, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning warned Tokyo to “stop playing with fire” on the issue of Taiwan. “The remarks of the incumbent high-level official of Japan’s defense department constitute blatant interference in China’s internal affairs,” she said.
Mao said the comments “have a damaging effect on the political foundation of China-Japan relations.” She reaffirmed China’s desire to bring Taiwan under its control, saying the “complete reunification of the motherland is the common aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation and an unstoppable historical trend.”
Japan is currently undergoing a major military buildup to bring its total military spending to over 2% of its gross domestic product over the next five years, up from 1% of its GDP. The buildup is being done in the name of countering China as the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida released a national security strategy that called Beijing the “the biggest strategic challenge, unlike anything we have seen before.”
The US is encouraging Japan to increase military ties with other nations, including South Korea and Australia, and supports Tokyo’s plans to acquire long-range missiles. The plans break from Japan’s post-World War II policy of only having a military for self-defense, as outlined in its US-imposed constitution.