Vice Admiral Masanori Yoshida JMSDF. Source: CSIS/YouTube screen capture

Taiwan is looking to rely more on Japan and the US for economic and security help in the face of stepped up pressure from Beijing, according to speakers at a Washington panel that included a former Japanese admiral.

Retired Vice Admiral Masanori Yoshida, of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, said at a Monday discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that he sees a “more cooperative approach” to security and economic concerns among the three maritime entities. Yoshida says this is especially true now that Tokyo has announced “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.”

USNI News says Yoshida noted how Taiwan’s navy uses US ships and pilots American military planes, making these forces interoperable with those of Japan and the US in training and combat situations.

Yoshida added the strategy, unveiled by Tokyo in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is “designed at maintaining a balance of power [militarily and economically] in Asia,” as China continues to rise as a power in the region.

Federated defense? 
The panelists included US security experts who noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s securing of an unlimited term in office at the current National People’s Congress could pave the way for a more assertive stance by Beijing on its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Michael Green, a CSIS analyst, predicted “more intelligence and closer relations [among the militaries of the three nations] with the caveat it is not an alliance.” The term most often used to describe that kind of relationship is “federated defense,” he said.

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