Japan warns of Taiwan crisis, growing risks of US-China rivalry
TOKYO, July 13 (Reuters) – Growing military tensions around Taiwan as well as economic and technological rivalry between China and the United States raise the prospect of a crisis in the region as the balance of power shifts in favor China, Japan said in its paper annual report.
China has rejected Japan’s findings on what it called normal military activity, calling them irresponsible.
The Japanese defense review, which was approved by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government on Tuesday, identifies China as Japan’s top national security concern.
“It is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation more than ever with a sense of crisis,” the newspaper said in a new section on Taiwan.
“In particular, competition in technological fields is likely to become even more intense,” he said of the US-China rivalry.
The recent increase in Chinese military activity around Taiwan worries Japan since the island is located near the Okinawa Range at the western end of the Japanese archipelago.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry thanked Japan for attaching such importance to security in the Taiwan Strait.
But there was an angry backlash in Beijing which said Japan has “for some time now” had baseless accusations of normal strengthening of China’s defense and military activities.
“This is very false and irresponsible. China expresses its deep discontent and firm opposition to this,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping this month pledged to complete “reunification” with Taiwan and in June criticized the United States as a “risk creator” after sending a warship through the separating Taiwan Strait. mainland island.
Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said this month in a speech reported by Japanese media that Japan should join forces with the United States to defend Taiwan against any invasion. Aso later said any eventuality regarding Taiwan should be resolved through dialogue when asked about the remarks, which drew a rebuke from Beijing.
As the military rivalry between the United States and China intensifies, their economic competition is fueling a race to take the lead in technologies such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Technological rivalry is a challenge for Japan because its economy relies as much on trade relations with China as it does with the United States.
Japan will also have to spend heavily to meet government funding for technological development in the United States, China and Europe.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate recently passed the Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which allows $ 190 billion in technology spending, including $ 54 billion to increase chip production.
Lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives are debating a separate proposal that also promises generous funding, known as the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act, or EAGLE Act.
Japan’s annual security review included for the first time a section on threats posed by climate change, which it said would increase competition for land and resources and could trigger massive movements of displaced people.
An increase in global warming-related disasters could also stretch military capabilities, Japan said, while melting Arctic Sea ice could lead to the militarization of northern waters.
Reporting by Tim Kelly; Additional reporting by Yew Lun Tian in Beijing and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Stephen Coates
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