UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-321184 China / Taiwean / Japan
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/16/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=CHINA TAIWAN JAPAN (L-O)

NUMBER=2-321184

BYLINE=BENJAMIN SAND

DATELINE=BEIJING

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

HEADLINE: China Protests Japanese Visa for Former President of Taiwan

INTRO: China has condemned Tokyo's decision to allow the former president of Taiwan to visit Japan. As VOA's Benjamin Sand reports from Beijing, the conflict comes during a period of heightened tensions between China and Japan.

TEXT: China accused Tokyo of poisoning already strained Sino-Japanese relations by allowing Taiwan's former president to visit Japan.

Tokyo said on Thursday that the 81-year-old Lee Teng-hui was granted a tourist visa and will come to Japan this month. Mr. Lee is a vocal proponent of Taiwanese independence.

China says Japan's decision strengthens Taiwan's move towards independence.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao urged Japan to reverse course.

/// LIU ACT IN CHINESE, FADE UNDER ///

Mr. Liu says Mr. Lee is the mastermind behind Taiwan's independence movement and China hopes, even requires, Japan to cancel its decision.

China considers Taiwan its territory, although the island has been governed separately since Nationalists fled there after losing a civil war to the Communist Party in 1949.

Beijing opposes moves that might reinforce impressions of Taiwanese independence, including visits by Taiwanese leaders to other countries.

Mr. Lee left office in 2000 but remains active in local politics and is a fierce critic of China's Taiwan policy.

Three months ago, Tokyo denied Mr. Lee a visa but officials say this latest application was granted because the former president promised he would not engage in politics during his visit.

/// OPT ///

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Thursday the issue is not important as Mr. Lee is making a private trip.

/// MACHIMURA ACT IN JAPANESE, FADE UNDER ///

Mr. Machimura says he does not think the visa issue will hurt relations with China.

/// END OPT ///

Mr. Lee's visit is the latest in a series disputes souring relations between the two Asian leaders.

The countries have squared off over control of a small group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The islands sit near a possible underwater gas field.

In November, a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine passed into Japanese waters. Beijing later apologized for the incident.

Last week Japan labeled China a national security threat and said it will start to shift its defense focus from Russia to China. (SIGNED)

NEB/HK/BS/KPD



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list