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Ex-president supports Japan's 'collective self-defense' moves

Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday commented on Japan's recent removal of a 60-year military restriction, saying that the neighboring country's move will set the U.S's mind at ease and strengthen the alliance between Japan and the U.S.

Japan earlier this week decided to lift a post World War II ban on overseas engagements by its military and allow for “collective self-defense” — a military action in defense of its allies. The move has raised the attention of many countries, including the Republic of Taiwan.

Lee yesterday told a press briefing that the Japanese government's decision to reinterpret the country's postwar Constitution is important to both Japan and the United States.

The former president went on to explain that although the United States is a strong country in terms of its military, the country is facing economic difficulties.

Lee said he thinks that the Philippines, Australia and India will maintain closer military relationships with Japan following the move. Taiwan will also be affected by the change, Lee said, adding that “this way, the mainland Chinese will behave better.”

Lee said that mainland China is currently economically stronger than its neighboring countries, and raises issues such as in the Diaoyutai Islands as well as being aggressive toward Vietnam and the Philippines. After Japan's lifting of its military restriction, mainland China will not take reckless actions easily, Lee said, adding that the situation in Asia will subsequently be more stable.

The former president said he thinks the Japanese government should at the same time take this chance to establish a “Taiwan relations act,” to offer an opportunity for Taiwan to have a more stable position in the Asia-Pacific.

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