• By The Financial District


While conducting massive military drills near Taiwan to vent its fury over the self-ruled island's growing political proximity to the United States, China has become wary that Japan too may get closer to what the mainland regards as a renegade province, Tomoyuki Tachikawa reported for Kyodo news agency. 

In September, Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, tapped Nobuo Kishi, known for his affinity for Taiwan, as defense minister. He is also the younger brother of Suga's predecessor, Shinzo Abe, seen by Beijing as a pro-US and hawkish conservative. 

The appointment of Kishi came as China has been trying to maintain normal ties with Japan, as its tensions with the US have been escalating over security issues including Washington's expanded outreach to democratic Taiwan. 

The leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping "must have been surprised," a diplomatic source in Beijing said, adding it may "take adequate time" to analyze whether Suga's decision is a sign that Japan would attempt to enhance relations with Taiwan. China and Taiwan have been separately governed since they split in the wake of a civil war in 1949. Their relationship has deteriorated under the government of independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen, who has served as Taiwan's president since 2016.

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