Taiwan’s TPP Leader Proposes Regular Meetings with Japan, U.S.; Desires Easing of Political Confrontations with China

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Taiwan People’s Party leader Ko Wen-je is interviewed in the suburbs of Taipei on Wednesday.

TAIPEI — Taiwan People’s Party leader Ko Wen-je, who will run in the Taiwan presidential election in January, has proposed regular security talks among senior officials from Japan, Taiwan and the United States regarding the Taiwan Strait, due to China’s military intimidation.

During an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun held in the suburbs of Taipei on Wednesday, the former Taipei mayor also expressed his desire to ease political confrontations with China by promoting dialogue and exchange in the areas of culture, sport and economics.

Referring to Japan’s use of the Taiwan Strait for maritime transport, Ko, 64, said: “Taiwan has become increasingly important for Japan. We need to exchange information [on the security front].”

Ko underlined the need for frequent security talks between Japan, Taiwan and the United States as well as for cooperation in the field of diplomacy. He said Taiwan would seek Japan’s cooperation in its goal of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Regarding Taiwan’s relations with China, which have become increasingly contentious under the Tsai Ing-wen administration, Ko said: “We should start exchanges in areas where there are no disputes. Political issues come last.”

At the same time, Ko said Taiwan would simultaneously enhance defense capabilities by saying, “Communication with China is premised on Taiwan having sufficient defense capabilities.”