Taiwan, U.S., Japan celebrate strategic ties as China tensions rise

Kyodo News

Posted at Jun 01 2020 08:23 PM

TAIPEI - Taiwan, the United States and Japan issued a joint statement on Monday celebrating their trilateral partnership and promising to seek greater cooperation amid ongoing Chinese efforts to diplomatically isolate the self-ruled island.

The joint statement was signed by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and the top representatives in Taipei of the United States and Japan -- Brent Christensen and Hiroyasu Izumi, respectively -- in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

It was signed to mark the fifth anniversary of the Global Cooperation Training Framework, a platform established by the United States in June 2015 for Taiwan to share expertise on a wide range of global issues beyond limits set by China, which blocks Taiwan membership in various international organizations.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Taipei, Izumi said Japan, which joined the framework in 2019 as a "full partner," will cooperate with its partners in it more proactively.

"Japan will not, and cannot, leave Taiwan alone by itself," he said. "Japan and Taiwan must work together."

To let the public better understand the multilateral project, Izumi said his Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association has established a special area on its official website.

Wu said since the framework was established in 2015, more than 500 officials and experts from 38 countries have participated in the project, and he hopes even more countries will join.

Through the platform, Wu said Taiwan-U.S. relations have grown from a "bilateral partnership" to "global cooperation partnership," and cooperation between Taiwan and Japan too has become ever closer.

Christensen, the head of the American Institute in Taiwan, told the same press conference that the framework was born out of a very simple idea: Taiwan can help.

Proudly announcing that he had a hand in creating the GCTF, Christensen said it is "free from political motives," and is designed "solely to help professionals benefit from Taiwan's experience, expertise and generosity."

While describing the U.S.-Taiwan relationship as "real friends, real progress," Christensen said that Taiwan is "a force for good in the world" and "a reliable partner for the United States and other like-minded countries around the world."