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China Slams Japan's Visa Offer to Lee Teng-hui

China's Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi lodged a protest Thursday against Japan's intention to issue a visa to Lee Teng-hui, a leading advocate of independence for Taiwan.

Wang's protest came after Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told the press Thursday that Tokyo would issue a travel visa to Lee early Thursday.

Calling for a meeting with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi to discuss the issue, Wang said Lee is a leading "Taiwan independence" seeker undermining both relations across the Taiwan Strait and regional stability.

Wang said China does not accept Japan's claim to support the one-China policy on one hand, while appearing to sanction Taiwan separatism on the other.

He said it was an unacceptable decision and China strongly opposed it.

Wang said effort from both China and Japan are needed to improve bilateral relations between the two and that if Japan remains intractable on the issue, it will bear its own consequences.

Earlier in the day, Hosoda said the visit by Lee and his family was not a political event but for sightseeing, which would not impair Sino-Japanese relations.

Hosoda also reiterated that Japan does not support "Taiwan independence", adding that Japan would continue to abide by the one-China policy.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also confirmed Hosoda's sentiments at a press conference, stressing that Japan would continue to attach importance to Sino-Japanese relations.

(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2004)

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