Tue, Aug 07, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ma’s pro-China position is making Japan wary: source

By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Pro-Taiwan Japanese politicians scoffed at claims made by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that Taiwan-Japan relations are in their best shape in four decades, dismissing them as “diplomatic language,” a Taiwanese politician with extensive contacts among Japanese politicians said.

According to the source, many among the Japanese political elite had told him in private that although Taiwan-Japan ties were still strong, it “was not due to either the Taiwanese or the Japanese governments, but rather thanks to the efforts of civilians.”

Many of these elites have also expressed concern about the impact of what they see as the Ma administration’s overtly pro-China attitude could have on bilateral relations, the source said.

Quoting the Japanese contacts, the source said the relationship between Taiwan and Japan in the past had focused on high-level matters such as joint-defense and how Japan could help Taiwan enter the WTO.

Since the Ma administration took power in 2008, a lot of pro-Taiwan Japanese politicians do not know what they are fighting for any more, the source said.

In reality, the Japanese government is unable to divert a lot of resources to issues affecting Taiwan due to its own political instability, the source said.

The Japanese politicians the source spoke with said that since Ma took office, the Taiwanese government has been perceived as increasingly pro-China, to the extent that “They [the Taiwanese government] will talk with China about everything,” the source quoted them as saying, adding that this is making the Japanese more guarded against the Taiwanese government.

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