Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Japanese ‘TRA’ is good idea, but difficult, Lee says

DEFENSE TIES:Lee said a Japanese version of the US law would be hard because Japanese are divided over the importance of China versus that of Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said on Friday in Osaka that he agreed with the idea of Japan enacting its own version of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), but that he understood it would be very difficult for Japan to do.

Lee expressed his views on several topics at a press conference after arriving in Osaka earlier on Friday for a week-long private visit to Japan, his sixth such trip in 14 years, according to the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association, which helped organize the trip.

Asked by Japanese media about what a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act would entail, Lee did not offer a substantive answer, but said that Taiwan’s relationship with Japan is special and different from its relationship with other countries and that he supported the idea advocated by the association.

However, Lee said that it would be difficult to promote a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act because Japanese are split over whether Taiwan or China is more important to them.

Instituting a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act would also be unlikely to bring significant economic benefits to Taiwan, Lee said, adding that currently, the most important thing was how to improve the friendship between the people of the two countries.

The Taiwan Relations Act requires the US to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character and help in matters of national defense.

Lee was also asked if the promise by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to remove the ban on the use of collective self-defense rights was related to the Taiwan Relations Act idea, but Lee answered that it was not.

Abe’s unprecedented push for the right to collective self-defense has drawn the attention of many regional neighbors, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and India, which have become more interested in forging close ties with Japan after China’s aggressive moves over disputed territories.

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