Japan will not comment on Tai-wan's defensive referendum plans before the US gives its official response, Taiwan's top representative in Japan said yesterday.
Japan's response to the referendum will largely be determined by the US' attitude towards the issue, said Lo Fu-chen (
Following US President George W. Bush's open reprimand of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the US expressed its opposition to the issues Chen was planning to address in the referendum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Chen has proposed a referendum asking China to remove its missiles targeting Taiwan and to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.
In his report on bilateral relations between Taiwan and Japan in a legislative session, Lo said the Chinese embassy in Japan had asked the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to openly oppose the defensive referendum.
Beijing officials have repeatedly condemned Chen's referendum proposals as a separatist plot and threatened to resort to force if Taiwan moves toward independence.
But the Japanese government did not agree to China's request because it regarded such a gesture as unnecessary. Japan does not want any conflicts in the Taiwan Strait and views China's missiles aimed at Taiwan as a threat, Lo said.
"Japan would not back any provocative behavior," said Lo. He did not explain whether Chen's referendum plans would be regarded as provocative.
Bush's rebuke of Chen during his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) in Washington last week triggered waves of media speculation regarding the US' attitude towards Taiwan's referendum plans.
Lo said Japan's attitude on the issue would not be as strict as Bush's.
Japan will do its part to help defuse cross-strait crises but is unlikely to get involved in any war, according to Lo.
Japan is Taiwan's third largest export market, after Hong Kong and the US, and Taiwan's biggest importer.
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