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Japan's Visa Offer to Lee Is Nothing but Provocative

Disregarding solemn representation and firm opposition from the Chinese government, Japan issued an entry visa to former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui on Tuesday, which allows him and his family to visit Nagoya and Kyoto for "sightseeing." 

This sends the wrong signal to pro-independence forces in Taiwan, and the move is being seen as an obstacle to China's peaceful reunification, severely damaging bilateral relations.


The Japanese government's claim that Lee will not engage in any political activity during his stay in Japan is nonsense.


Leader of the Taiwan authorities from 1988 to 2000, Lee is a leading advocate of independence for Taiwan and an out-and-out trouble-maker in the international arena.


In 1999, before he stepped down, he redefined the island's ties with the mainland as special "state-to-state" relations, which agitated the tense situation across the Straits.


The political aim of Lee's Japan tour is obviously to lobby people to back his bid for "Taiwan independence" and create external conditions for his separatism.


The Japanese government could not have missed this point.


By allowing Lee's entry to Japan, Tokyo is conniving with and supporting the "Taiwan independence" force, harming China's national interests, and chilling China-Japan ties to the bone.


But just last week, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda still reiterated Japan would continue to abide by the one-China policy.


At a time when there are no signs to show the two sides are any time soon likely to break a long-standing and awkward impasse, characterized by many as "politically cold and economically warm," Japan's hypocritical approach can only make a bad situation worse.


For this, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should take complete responsibility for paying an annual pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, among which are 14 convicted Class-A war criminals.


The Chinese government alone cannot steer bilateral ties out of troubled waters if the Japanese side does not show real sincerity in digging up the roots that grow into a deterioration of relations.


(China Daily December 24, 2004)

China Lodges Protest with Japan over Visa
FM: Japan Urged to Prevent Lee's Visit
China Slams Japan's Visa Offer to Lee Teng-hui
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