At the Australia-France Foreign and Defence (2+2) Ministerial Consultations, the two countries issued a joint statement to emphasize the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. They have also pledged to deepen ties with Taiwan. Meanwhile, Japan plans to conduct an evacuation drill for their outlying islands in March amid Taiwan tensions.
In the face of China's military threat, Japan is increasingly worried that "something" will happen to Taiwan. According to Japan's Nikkei News, the Japanese government plans to evacuate the five outlying islands of Yonaguni, Taketomi, Ishigaki, Tarama, and Miyakojima to avoid being affected if China invades Taiwan. The evacuation drill is expected to take place in March.
Chen Wen-chia, Vice President, Taiwan Society of Japan Studies: “Japan has been deploying its military to the Okinawa Islands. With this evacuation plan, it's obvious that the U.S.-Japan involvement in the Taiwan Strait has already been determined and is imperative. When China naturally wants to unify Taiwan by force, it must also attack the Okinawa Islands in order to achieve anti-access and area denial to enemy forces.”
Japan is not the only one worried about the situation in the Taiwan Strait. The 2+2 joint statement issued by France and Australia once again emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. It calls for a peaceful solution to cross-Strait issues and opposes unilateral changes in the status quo. The statement also supports Taiwan's participation in international organizations and deepening relations with Taiwan, which is stronger than the statement two years ago. As China continues to threaten Taiwan, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will visit Beijing in February and may express concern to China about the Taiwan issue.
Mao Ning, Spokesperson, Foreign Ministry, China: “The Taiwan issue is at the heart of China's core interests. It is the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations. It is the first insurmountable red line in Sino-U.S. relations. The U.S. should not even try to cross this red line at any time.”
China's foreign ministry stresses that Taiwan is an insurmountable red line. Blinken is expected to hold talks with the newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. It will be the first time in four years that the U.S. Secretary of State has visited China.