Japan, Taiwan ruling parties to hold security talks on Friday

China views Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - The ruling parties of Japan and Taiwan will hold their first security talks this week, with bilateral concerns about increasing Chinese military strength likely to be top of the agenda.

Members of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold their first bilateral security talks on Friday (Aug 27), DPP lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng told Bloomberg on Wednesday. A secretary for the head of the LDP's foreign affairs committee confirmed the schedule.

The talks are the latest sign of a more coordinated response among democratic governments concerned about China's increasingly assertive actions in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.

Lawmakers from the United States, Taiwan and Japan, including former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, met last month to discuss greater support for the democratically ruled island.

US President Joe Biden and current Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga affirmed "the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait" during Mr Suga's visit to the White House in April - the first mention of the island in such a joint statement since both countries switched formal relations from Taipei to Beijing in the 1970s.

China has protested the growing links. The foreign ministry in Beijing dismissed the July meeting as "negative and wrong in both form and content" and warned that agreement on the status of Taiwan sat at the "political foundation" of China's ties with Japan, as well as the US.

China views the separately ruled island as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. It refuses to maintain diplomatic ties with countries that formally recognise the government in Taipei.

Mr Lo said the party-to-party talks could serve as a format for expanding Taipei's contact with other governments around the world who may be unwilling to challenge Beijing's demand that they avoid official ties with Taiwan.

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