Lee visit to US will depend on visa

DPA , TAIPEI

Sat, Feb 03, 2001 - Page 3

Plans by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to visit his alma mater, Cornell University in New York State, at the end of April hinge on US authorities granting him a visa, news reports said yesterday quoting a close aide.

Local media said that Cornell did not deny knowledge of Lee's plan to visit his alma mater, but will hold off an official announcement until later.

Lee's last visit to Cornell -- in a private capacity while serving as president in 1995 -- infuriated China and led to months of saber-rattling that culminated in missile tests in the Taiwan Strait the following year.

Although Lee is now a private citizen, approval for his US visa is seen as a test of the new Bush administration's policy toward China, as China's leadership is seen likely to protest against such a visit.

Meanwhile, a private trip to Japan this year would also be subject to visa approval, Lee aide and former head of the KMT Business Management Committee Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said, according to the report.

Since his retirement in May last year Lee, has made low-key private visits to England and the Czech Republic, both of which were greeted with criticism from Beijing.