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US, Japan to declare Taiwan a common security problem
Updated: 2005-02-19 16:15

Japan is to join the United States in declaring that Taiwan is a common security issue, a spokesman for Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said.

The shared anxiety of the two allies over any flare-up in the Taiwan Strait will be incorporated in their "common strategic objectives" to be adopted at a high-level ministerial meeting in Washington on Saturday.

The Taiwan issue will be "dealt with under what we call common strategic objectives," that would also include the nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula, said Hatsuhisa Takashima, the press secretary to Machimura.

"I don't think there will be any expression of concern but we'll simply point out that Taiwan is one of the major issues to be dealt with if Japan and the United States consider mid-term and long-term strategic objectives for peace and stability in North Asia," Takashima said.

Machimura and Japanese defense chief Yoshinori Ono will hold talks Saturday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the first "two plus two" meeting since December 2002.

It will mark the first time Taiwan will be declared a common security issue by the United States and Japan, which have a security alliance covering more than half a century, diplomats said.

Washington switched recognition from Taiwan to the Chinese mainland in 1979, but under US law it is obliged to offer the island a means of self-defense if its security is threatened.

Japan ended its diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1972 to establish relations with the Chinese mainland.

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