Taiwan Looks to Japan as Cross-Strait Ties Grow Cool

Commentary | November 04, 2016

Relations between Japan and Taiwan have the potential to reach new heights since the election of Tsai Ing-wen as president earlier this year. Tsai’s landmark victory in January catapulted her Democratic Progressive Party into power and curbed decades of political monopoly by the nationalist Kuomintang. Tsai’s tenure has also resulted in a regression of cross-strait ties, as Beijing remains wary of Tsai’s pro-independence support base.

Meanwhile, ties with Tokyo have reached a critical juncture. Taipei is looking at improved ties with Japan as a strategic lever in its triangular relationship between Beijing and Washington — its security guarantor. Indeed, Tsai has long held favorable views of Japan and made a controversial trip to Tokyo a few months before her election. The trip ruffled feathers in Beijing and was the first time that an opposition leader visited Japan. This also caused concern in Beijing that Tsai was looking at wooing Japan and perhaps was prepared to shelve Taipei’s claim to the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea — also claimed by China.

Click here to read the full article in The Japan Times.