Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Japan ties will thrive: ex-diplomat

DIPLOMACY Lo Fu-chen said that several ministers have made secret trips to Japan and that he has been working recently on arranging a trip for Chen Shui-bian

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's relationship with Japan will continue to thrive during President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) second term, the country's former top representative to Japan, Lo Fu-chen (羅福全), said yesterday.

Lo, now president of the Association of East Asian Relations, said Taiwan's relationship with Japan is more the result of a strengthening partnership between Japan and the US than of efforts on Taiwan's part.

"Since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi took office, he has been nurturing a strong diplomatic partnership with the US ? The US also regards Japan as its most reliable partner in Asia," said Lo, who took the helm at the association last week.

Citing Japan's support for Taiwan's bids to enter the WTO and the World Health Organization, Lo said that Japan's national interests will increasingly intersect with Taiwan's.

Koh Se-kai (許世楷), the new top representative to Japan, can expect the two countries' ties to grow steadily, Lo said.

With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington having set a visit by Chen to Washington as a priority in cementing Taiwan-US ties, Lo said he had been negotiating with the Japanese government about the possibility of Chen making a transit stop in Japan.

Chen announced that relations with the US and Japan would top the nation's diplomatic agenda when he started his first term in office.

Lacking officials ties with the US and Japan, the government here views Taiwanese leaders' transits in both countries as significant diplomatic achievements.

Taiwanese diplomats in the US have been working toward arranging a trip by Chen to Washington.

Visits by Chen or Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to countries that are not Taiwan's allies provoke strong reactions from China, which has forced several nations to turn down proposed trips by Chen or Lu.

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