Taiwan's China thaw good for Japan, Ma says
TAIPEI (Kyodo) A recent warming in relations between bitter rivals China and Taiwan "is significant for Japan," Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday while meeting with a delegation of Japanese lawmakers, officials and academics.
"This turning point is not just significant for Taiwan and China; it's also significant for Japan because Japan and Taiwan can continue maintaining their friendship without having to make difficult decisions with the Taiwan Strait in mind," Ma said, according to a Presidential Office press release.
Less than a month into his presidency, Ma managed to kick-start cross-strait
talks and ink pacts with Beijing on establishing direct air and tourism
With the Japanese delegation visiting, Ma has sought to paint warming relations with China as a boon for Japan, which is concerned that any cross-strait conflict would involve Tokyo or tip the balance of regional power too far toward Beijing.
He also praised Tokyo's own breakthrough in relations with Beijing, citing a recent deal struck by both sides to jointly develop a natural gas field in disputed waters in the East China Sea, calling the accord "absolutely incredible."
The dispute stemmed from a collision in which a Japan Coast Guard vessel struck and sank a Taiwanese sport fishing boat near the uninhabited islets, prompting Taipei to recall its de facto ambassador and dissolve a key government committee that handled relations with Tokyo.
The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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