Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said China will be watching how the international community responds to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“If something happens on the Ukraine border, that outcome might affect other people’s calculations in Asia,” Hayashi said in an interview, The Wall Street Journal reported. “We have to be very solid on this issue.”
Hayashi drew a comparison between the Ukraine issue and China’s asserted territorial claims to the self-governing island nation of Taiwan and islands in the East China Sea that are controlled by Japan.
Taiwan said its situation is “fundamentally different” than Ukraine’s, according to the Journal. China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on any comparison between Ukraine and Taiwan to the outlet, saying the conflict surrounding Ukraine should be solved through diplomacy.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have mounted in recent months as China has repeatedly sent war planes on missions into Taiwan’s air defense zone and staged military drills near the island nation. Taiwan has complained of increased pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese rule.
“I don’t mean only China, but any country could draw from this case if it really happens,” Hayashi added, according to the outlet, pointing to the Middle East and South America.
This comes as Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, leading the international community to raise concerns about a potential invasion.
Officials in the U.S. and the European Union have said they would impose harsh sanctions on Russia in the event that it invades Ukraine.
Hayashi said Japan could join U.S. and European sanctions against Russia, the Journal reported. Japan’s prime minister similarly said after a call with the president of Ukraine on Tuesday that Japan would coordinate on sanctions with other Group of Seven nations, the outlet noted. Hayashi added Japan could adopt additional measures against Russia as well.
Russia has denied having any plans to invade and said Western countries are exaggerating the situation, even as it continues to build up military forces on Ukraine’s border.