China's chilling warning of 'war provocation' as Taiwan and Japan hold historic talks

BEIJING has lashed out at Taiwan and Japan as the two countries held their first ever bilateral security talks over rising tensions in the South China Sea.

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The Pacific island nations opened a dialogue on Friday, marking an historic moment for the two countries which do not have formal diplomatic ties. Foreign affairs and defence officials from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Party (DDP) and Japan’s Liberal Democratic party (LDP) came together for the 90-minute online talks which focused on nearby military activities and possible cooperation between Taiwan, Japan and the United States.

The talks have spurred the ire of Beijing who condemned them as an affront to Chinese sovereignty.

Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece The Global Times warned: “Taking risks on the Taiwan question is tantamount to provoking a war.

“Japan’s playing tricks will only make itself lose on both sides – becoming cannon fodder for US interests on one hand and provoking the Chinese mainland and asking for trouble for itself on the other.”

Japanese naval forces are currently tied up in a training exercise with their “quad” partners, the US, Australia and India, in the Philippine Sea for the Malabar navy war games.

China fuming as Taiwan and Japan hold security talks

‘Cannon fodder!’ China fuming as Taiwan and Japan hold security talks – ‘Provoking war’ (Image: Getty Images)

Taiwan flag

Taiwan holds historic talk with Japan (Image: Getty images)

Lo Chih-cheng and Tsai Shih-ying from the DDP told reporters China had been a hot topic for discussion.

“From a certain perspective today’s talks represent the efforts of both governments to raise relations,” Mr Lo said.

“More importantly, even if the two sides face possible pressure from China, both sides can promise to express their strong willingness and hope that such a dialogue will continue.”

In a Facebook post, the DDP added: “There has long been solid friendship between Taiwan and Japan, and the cooperation between the two countries in various fields is getting closer.

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Japanese naval forces

Japanese naval forces are currently tied up in the Philippine Sea (Image: Getty Images )

South China Sea mapped

South China Sea mapped (Image: Express)

“Through this exchange, we look forward to more in-depth interaction and cooperation on diplomatic and security issues of importance to both sides.”

For years, China has claimed its intentions to reunite with Taiwan and has not ruled out the use of military force to achieve this.

In recent months, Japan has taken an increasingly defensive stance against Xi Jinping’s regime in Beijing.

A recent white paper published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence in July highlighted the increasing threat of China – especially in relation to a possible conflict over Taiwan and several other islands in the region over which Japan holds sovereignty.

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Taiwan helicopter

Taiwan helicopter performs in military drill in 2018 (Image: Getty Images)

Taiwan Strait

Taiwan Strait satellite image (Image: Getty Images)

The document stressed: “It is necessary that we pay close attention to the [Taiwan] situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”

Mr Lo has brushed off Chinese accusations the defence talks send the “wrong message”, saying that kind of response was totally expected.

He said: “Taiwan, as a sovereign and independent country, has the right to promote bilateral and multilateral ties with all countries.”

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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