Wed, Jul 23, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Wang affirms Japan’s importance to Taiwan

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Despite improved ties between Taiwan and China, Taiwan-Japan relations remain important to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday.

Wang made the remark during a meeting at the legislature with a delegation of Taiwanese living in Japan.

He also said that he would lead a delegation of more than 20 legislators to Japan early next month at the invitation of former Japanese foreign minister Taro Aso.

CHINA TIES

Japanese officials are said to be concerned at the implications of Taiwan’s warming ties with China in regard to Taiwan-Japan relations.

Hoping to ease concerns, Wang assured his guests that Taiwan would reinforce ties with Japan and the US at the same time as it seeks to step up relations with China.

Earlier in the day, during a meeting with the same group at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) promised that he would visit Japan more often to bolster bilateral ties.

CEMENTING LINKS

The KMT must cement links with Japan’s ruling and opposition parties to boost cooperation and mend the gap created by a lack of mutual understanding and contacts, said Wang, assuring the group that “President Ma is not ‘anti-Japan.’”

He said this view was a misunderstanding caused by an absence of frequent contact between the KMT and the Japanese.

Members of the group said that many in Japan are skeptical about Ma’s stance toward the country because he failed to mention Japan in his May 20 inaugural address and played an active role in Taiwan’s campaign in the 1970s to claim sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyutai islands (釣魚台).

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