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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Taiwan backs efforts by Japan lawmakers to enhance ties with island

  • June 6, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 8:16 p.m.
  • English Press
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TAIPEI — Taiwan said Thursday it welcomes efforts by a group of Japanese lawmakers to help institute a law that would serve as a basis for legalizing relations between the two sides, which do not have a diplomatic ties.

 

Kuo Chung-shi, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told a weekly briefing that the ministry is working behind the scenes to support a bill that the parliamentarians have pledged to submit to the Diet.

 

“We are making under-the-table efforts to help push the legislation,” Kuo said, declining to offer further details for fear of “creating unnecessary trouble.”

 

The draft bill, tentatively titled the “Basic Law for Japan-Taiwan Exchanges,” resembles one that Diet members attempted to push in 2014 but which failed to garner support.

 

The draft was unveiled last week at a gathering in Tokyo of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association, a pro-Taiwan-independence group in Japan affiliated with the eponymous former president of the island.

 

According to media reports, the draft contains seven articles that seek to legalize relations between Taiwan and Japan.

 

Among them are the provision of legal protections for Taiwanese nationals in Japan, the granting of diplomatic immunity to Taiwanese diplomats in Japan and authorizing the Japanese government to provide necessary intelligence to the Taiwan government.

 

Media reported that Japanese parliamentarians attending last week’s gathering welcomed the draft bill and promised to back the legislation at the Japanese parliament, although they admitted that it will be an uphill task.

 

Japan, which severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established them with Beijing in 1972, has no domestic law governing relations with Taipei despite a robust unofficial relationship.

 

Taiwan and China have been governed separately since civil war divided them in 1949. Beijing has since then endeavored to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

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