A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would constitute a significant threat to Japan and therefore “an emergency for the Japan-US alliance,” he said. “People in Beijing, especially President Xi Jinping, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this.”
Taiwan was a Japanese colony for 50 years until the end of World War II and relations between the two remain close, shored up by the US-Japan defense alliance and Washington’s strong, if unofficial, support for the island.
Despite strong economic and cultural links and Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan must eventually be unified with it, only a small percentage of Taiwanese support such a union.
Abe also expressed his support for Taiwan’s entry into the the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Tokyo-led trade grouping that emerged from the Trans-Pacific after it was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump.
Taiwan submitted its membership application in September, a week after China.
“I will support Taiwan’s participation,” Abe said, adding that the organisation is “crucial in order to keep strengthening the international order based on rules. I think Taiwan is more than qualified to participate.”
Abe served twice as prime minister leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic during an especially tense period in Japan-China relations. He retired 2020.