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Okinawa seeks Tokyo’s help lowering tensions with China

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan should do more for peaceful diplomacy with China and not just focus on arms deterrence as tensions rise around Taiwan to the west of Okinawa…
TOKYO (AP) — Japan should do more for peaceful diplomacy with China and not just focus on arms deterrence as tensions rise around Taiwan to the west of Okinawa, said the southern island prefecture’s governor Friday, demanding further reduction of its security burden and its risk hosting U.S. military there. “We are strongly alarmed,” Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said, by discussions at parliament about a potential Taiwan emergency — particularly on the premise that Okinawa would be embroiled because of its relative closeness 600 kilometers (370 miles) east of Taiwan across the East China Sea. Tamaki was speaking online from the prefectural capital of Naha ahead Okinawa’s 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japan on May 15, which came 20 years after most of Japan regained independence from the post-war U.S. occupation of 1945-1952. Instead of celebratory mood, there is concern on Okinawa, with its heavy burden of hosting American troops amid escalating tension in the region over China’s increasingly assertive military actions and rivalry with the United States. There is also concern that Russian invasion of Ukraine may embolden China. In what it calls a warning to Taiwan independence supporters and their foreign allies, China has been staging threatening exercises and flying military planes near the island’s airspace, including on Feb.24, the day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Despite that, Chinese officials including leader Xi Jinping say they are committed to using peaceful means to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control.

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