Sat, Nov 27, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan `regrets' Japan's stance on sub

COUNTER-CLAIMS Tokyo said it knew nothing about Chen Shui-bian's claims that Taipei had detected a Chinese submarine. The Presidential office said that was too bad

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office expressed regret yesterday over the Japanese government's denial that Taiwan informed it of the intrusion of a Chinese submarine into its territorial waters earlier this month.

Questioned by a Diet member at the House of Representatives Thursday whether Japan received reports from Taiwan about the submarine, Ichiro Aisawa, vice minister of foreign affairs, said "there is no such matter."

"We express regret [over the denial]. Japan said this because it has its own concerns," Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

"China is expanding its military power on a massive scale and frequently invades other countries' territorial waters. For its neighboring countries, such as Taiwan and Japan, the main task at hand is to work together to maintain regional security and a balance of power," Su told reporters.

The official declined to comment when asked whether Japan denied it received information on the submarine from Taiwan out of fear of China.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that Taiwan alerted Japan about the intruding Chinese submarine during a meeting with Reijiro Hattori, the chairman of the Japanese Interchange Association, at the Presidential Office last week.

"We are very honored that Taiwan could, in advance, provide related information to Japan and the United States," he told Hattori.

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

Koh Se-kai (許世楷), Taiwan's representative to Japan, mentioned Taiwan's offer of intelligence regarding the submarine in his speech given at a conference held by the Japan-Taiwan Security and Economic Research Association Wednesday, according to the Central News Agency.

Koh told the association, consisting of 47 Taiwan-friendly Diet members, that Taiwan detected the activities of the Chinese submarine.

Taiwan informed Japan of the intruding submarine, but Japan denied it received the report "probably because of its concerns about China," Koh said.

Koh stressed that the submarine incident revealed that Taiwan and Japan are under similar threats from China and that both sides need to establish security dialogue.

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) yesterday urged Chen to explain how Taiwan could have provided information about the submarine to Japan so as to "maintain the dignity of the country."

He said Japan's denial of Taiwan's help hurts the nation.

"Japan has advanced anti-submarine aircraft, which are almost as good as those owned by the US. Taiwan does not have such anti-submarine warfare equipment. How could it be possible that we found the submarine and Japan did not?" Chang asked.

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