Japan urges China to stop war games in Taiwan Strait

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

 China's military drills in response to the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been criticized by the Japanese government. In a statement Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned China's firing of ballistic missiles during military drills around Taiwan, calling it a serious matter that impacts the national security and safety of its citizens. Tokyo said China had dropped five missiles in the country's exclusive economic zone, with four of them believed to have flown over the main island of Taiwan. 

"China's actions this time have a serious impact on the peace and stability of our region and the international community," Kishida told reporters after meeting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for breakfast. "I told him that we had called for the immediate cancellation of the military exercises," he said. Tokyo itself has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the military exercises, which began on Thursday. 

Part of Japan's southernmost Okinawa region is close to Taiwan, as are the small islands that are at the center of a long-standing dispute between Tokyo and Beijing. Pelosi is in Tokyo for the final leg of an Asia tour that includes a stop in Taiwan that has angered Beijing, which has launched its biggest military exercise around Taiwan in response. 

Pelosi arrived in Japan late Thursday after previously visiting South Korea, another key US ally, where she visited the border with North Korea. This is her first time in Japan since 2015. At his meeting with Pelosi, Kishida said he and the speaker of the US House of Representatives discussed geopolitical issues including matters relating to North Korea, China and Russia, as well as efforts towards a nuclear-free world.

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