Chen urges Japan to ignore Beijing reaction and host Lee

The China Post staff

President Chen Shui-bian, threw his weight behind his predecessor, urging Japan to host ex-president Lee Teng-hui despite angry criticism by mainland China over a planned trip.

“Japan is a sovereign independent country with its own dignity. Why fear China’s reaction?” Chen said.

Lee, an outspoken critic of mainland China, provoked Beijing during his 12-year term as president by travelling broad to try to break the island out of isolation. Lee wanted to visit Japan but Tokyo has not approved such a trip.

A private visit to the United States in 1995 so enraged Beijing it lobbed missiles into waters off Taiwan to scare voters away from him in the run-up to the island’s first direct presidential elections the following year.

Japanese Senator Masakuni Kamimura told President Chen recently that Japan has difficulty accepting former Presdient Lee’s plan to visit Japan this year, according to Japanese news reports.

Kamimura, who is leading a nine-member ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Senate delegation on a four-day visit to Taipei, told Chen that form the point of view that the Japanese ruling party, the conditions for welcoming Lee are ‘not yet favorable.” Lee plans to attend the “Asian Outlook Meeting” scheduled to be held in Mastsumoto City at the end of October.

Kamimura said that as next year is the beginning of the new century, he will do his best to create favorable conditions in order that Lee can realize his wish to visit Japan.