Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 3 News List

MAC chief gets warning from Japanese about Beijing's `united front' methods

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Officials and academics in Japan have warned Taiwan to be cautious of the "united front" tactics that China employs against Taiwan, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

Wu, who just returned from a four-day visit to Japan on Wednesday, said he had noticed that in just one year's time, Beijing had improved its lobbying efforts and penetration of Japan's political circles in order to repair Sino-Japanese relations. Those ties have soured because of a combination of historical and territorial disputes.

He said that some Japanese politicians have been influenced by the propaganda put out by the Chinese lobby to the extent that they believe that as long as Japan's prime minister stops making visits to Tokyo's Yakusuni shrine to pay tribute to the war-dead, Sino-Japanese relations would immediately heal.

However, Wu said that many Japanese officials and academics told him that that Beijing's propaganda is too simple, because there are a lot more factors influencing the two countries' relations, in addition to the historical ones. These factors include competition for energy resources, the territorial dispute surrounding the Diaoyutais and the expansion of Chinese military power and the threat this poses to Japan.

Wu said he was advised by Japanese officials and academics to be cautious of Beijing's "united front" tactics against Taiwan.

"Basically they told me that Japan will separate its dealings with China from its handling of relations between Taiwan and Japan," Wu said. "And that Japan would like to continue developing ties with Taiwan on a variety of levels."

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