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Japan pushes for TRA-like deal with Taiwan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-21 12:17 PM
According to a recent report from the Kyodo News International, a group of around 70 lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Nobuo Kishi, a senior vice foreign minister and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's younger brother, is considering to tighten bilateral relations with Taiwan in light of the tensed ties with China by introducing a Japanese-version of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). Taiwanese lawmakers welcome the plan after learning the report later this week.

Nobuo Kishi, also the head of the Japan-Taiwan Young Parliamentary Association on Economic Exchange, promotes a closer tie with Taiwan and proposed the idea of a 1979 TRA-like deal at a meeting on Monday. Kishi's proposed deal would be, however, focusing on the economic aspects since Taiwan is Japan's fifth-largest trading partner. At the meeting, Kishi said that the deal doesn't necessarily impair the position of China. Japan-Taiwan exchanges should be promoted, he added.

In response to the proposed Japanese-version of the TRA, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chun-ying said the country is strongly opposed to such a plan.

According to Kyodo News International, such a bill has been proposed by then-Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bien in 2006, which covers the issue of security. Some LDP members are hoping that with the conclusion of such an agreement, it could earn another ally for Japan in the ongoing dispute with the Asian powers.

TRA is a legal obligation promulgated and passed by the U.S. congress in 1979 in a bid to maintain a commercial, cultural, and other relations, including the defensive arms sales to Taiwan, as the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Taiwanese lawmakers from ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and opposition DPP parties reportedly welcome a proposed TRA-like deal with Japan. KMT’s legislator of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee Ma Wen-jun said they are glad to see a plan of such a kind to strengthen economic relations and personal exchanges. Tsai Huang-liang, DPP legislator from the same committee, also expressed welcome to the proposal, seeing it as a way to put Taiwan under the umbrella of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the great powers in Asia-Pacific region.

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