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Japanese political leader Taro Aso calls for peace in the Taiwan Strait as Tokyo expands defense

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By HUIZHONG WU
Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A senior Japanese politician is advocating for increasing his country’s deterrence ability to ensure peace in the region, and called for that message to be clearly conveyed globally — particularly in China. The vice president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Taro Aso, spoke Tuesday in Taipei. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. The island never has been part of the People’s Republic of China, but the mainland’s ruling Communist Party says it’s obligated to unite with China, by force if necessary. In December, Japan announced a historic break with its pacifist defense policy by saying it would adopt offensive capabilities. The move came months after China fired five ballistic missiles into waters near Japanese southern islands as part of military exercises.

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