South Asia and Beyond

Japan, Pacific Islands Voice Concerns On China’s Bid To Alter Status Quo

 Japan, Pacific Islands Voice Concerns On China’s Bid To Alter Status Quo

Japan along with other Pacific islands have strongly opposed any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion during a meet in Fiji, the Japan Times reported.

The declaration comes in the midst of a growing effort by Beijing to increase its influence in the region.

At a meeting held in Suva, the Fijian capital, Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa said that she agreed with her counterparts from 18 countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) that it was important for everyone to follow “international rules-based order” and that Tokyo would support other islands in this strategically important region.

Kamikawa said that Tokyo considers its partnership with the other players in the region as important.

China has been trying to increase its influence in the region and Beijing’s clout can be gauged from the fact that recently Nauru, a country of 12,000 people in the Pacific, decided to sever ties with Taiwan in favour of mainland China. In 2019, other countries like Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, had also decided to derecognise Taiwan.

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The region is of strategic importance and Beijing has been increasing its military outposts in the region. Recently, China made repeated incursions into the territorial waters around Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea that is controlled by Tokyo, but claimed by Beijing.

Some of the other concerns of the members were also addressed by the Japanese officials regarding the discharge of water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Kamikawa assured the countries that the discharge has been carried out “in accordance with relevant international safety standards and practices.”

The PIF consists of Australia, the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and France’s overseas territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia.