Japan supports Taiwan's joining the World Health Organization
Taiwan's ruling party chief Wu Poh-hsiung returned home Saturday after visiting Japan to boost ties and achieving Tokyo's promise to back Taiwan joining the World Health Organization (WHO), dpa reported.
During the week-long visit, Wu, chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party, met with Japanese officials and held two news conferences to convey President Ma Ying-jeou's message that Taiwan values its ties with Japan while improving ties with China.
"I told the Japanese side that there is no contradiction between improving Taiwan-China ties and strengthening Taiwan-Japan ties, and that improving Taiwan-China ties is in the interests of Japan, Asia and the world," he said at the Taipei international airport.
"Taiwan and Japan have a huge trade volume and an exchange of a large number of tourists. Therefore, the two sides value their relationship and we will strengthen our communication with Japan," he said.
Japan is Taiwan's No 2 trading partner after China and is Taiwan's top source of tourists.
Regarding the sovereign dispute over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, Wu said Taiwan and Japan should settle the matter through rational and peaceful talks. For the time being, they should put aside disputes to focus on jointly exploring resources, like fishing, in the area around the Diaoyu Islands.
Wu also said that Japan expressed full support for Taiwan's joining the WHO, starting with backing observer status for Taiwan within the organisation.
President Ma sent Wu to Japan to ease Tokyo's worries that after Ma took office on May 20, Taiwan is moving too close to China and is neglecting ties with Japan.
Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895 until 1945. Japan cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1972, but maintains close trade ties with Taipei.
In related news, the Central News Agency reported Saturday that former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (in office from December 2006-September 2007) has invited Taipei's invitation to visit Taiwan in 2009.