Sat, Nov 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen claims Taipei told Japan about Chinese submarine

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that Taiwan had alerted Japan about China's submarine intrusion into Japanese waters last week.

"We are very honored that Taiwan could, in advance, provide related information to Japan and the United States, to later further confirm," he said as he received Reijiro Hattori, the director of Japan's Interchange Association, at the Presidential Office.

The association is Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan.

The submarine briefly entered Japanese territorial waters last Wednesday off Okinawa without identifying itself.

Tokyo deployed reconnaissance aircraft and naval destroyers to shadow the submarine, which had spent about two hours inside Japanese waters before heading north.

Beijing initially refused to accept a protest or make an apology. On Tuesday, China apologized for the intrusion, citing technical mistakes.

"We believe Japan can feel the sense of threat from China just as Taiwan does," Chen said. "This shows Japan, the US and Taiwan share same interests in safeguarding the security of the Asia-Pacific region."

Chen told Hattori that he was delighted the the Japanese government was planning to relax its visa regulations on Taiwanese visitors for the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, which begins March 25.

He said he hoped Japan would continue its less-restrictive visa policy even after the exposition ends. At present Japan only provides three-day landing visas to Taiwanese visitors.

Chen also received Kiwanis International president Case Van Kleef, who is in town to inspect the preparations for the Kiwanis International's 2006 Asia-Pacific conference to be held here.

Chen congratulated the Tai-wan chapter of Kiwanis International, which has changed its official title. The chapter was originally named the "Republic of China District of Kiwanis International." Last year it applied to change its title to "Taiwan District of Kiwanis International" and the Kiwanis International headquarters in the US gave its approval.

Chen told Kleef that the government will give all necessary assistance to the Taiwan Kiwanis chapter to help it organize the 2006 conference and added that he will attend the event as well.

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