Taiwan: President Asks Japan for Legalized Ties, FTA
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday asked Japan to enact a law to legalize ties with Taipei and to sign a free trade agreement (FTA).
Taipei-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday asked Japan to enact a law to legalize ties with Taipei and to sign a free trade agreement (FTA). Chen made the requests while receiving Japanese parliamentarian Hagiuda Kouichi, one day after he made a similar suggestion in a video conference with Japanese lawmakers and academics.
"Taiwan and Japan are not only the best allies in democracy values, but also the best security partners. There is the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) between Taiwan and the US and there is the defence treaty between Japan and the US. I hope there is a similar mechanism between Taiwan and Japan," Chen told Kouichi.
"So I suggest we should all think about pushing for the Japanese version of TRA to establish a security triangle between Japan, the US and Taiwan," he said.
Chen also urged Japan to sign an FTA with Taiwan because the island is Japan's second-largest trading partner with two-way trade totalling 60 million US dollars last year.
"On this basis, we should seriously consider signing an FTA. We can start with signing an investment guarantee pact, and discuss forming the economic partnership agreement (EPA) and then sign an FTA," Taiwan's president said.
Chen's proposal is a difficult issue for Japan because Tokyo has diplomatic ties with China and Beijing bars its allies from making formal contacts with Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway Chinese province.
In 1979 the US Congress signed the Taiwan Relations Act promising to maintain cultural and trade ties with Taiwan and to continue to supply defensive arms after the US switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan.
Despite a lack of official ties, Taiwan maintains close trade ties with Japan, partly due to their anti-Communist stance and also because Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895-1945.
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