Su denies planning meet with Japanese Diaoyutai hard-liner
By Enru Lin, The China Post
February 4, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Major opposition party Chairman Su Tseng-chang yesterday denied plans to meet one-on-one with former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara (石原慎太郎), an outspoken nationalist at the center of the Diaoyutais controversy.
A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) department chief recently announced an upcoming Su-Ishihara meet, triggering public anxiety about a backlash from Beijing. Last April, Ishihara's bid to buy the Diaoyutai Islands had renewed tensions with other claimants of the island chain, antagonizing mainland China in particular.
Just before his flight to Japan on Sunday, Su denied any arrangement to meet Ishihara.
The DPP's itinerary does not include a one-on-one sit-down with the former governor, Su stressed to local media at the Taipei Songshan Airport.
The DPP also has not planned any meetings meant to focus exclusively on the Diaoyutais issue, Su continued.
"The paramount objective for our trip to Japan is to treat a broad range of issues and problems, as well as to interface with Japanese politicians, experts and civil society. We will be making the greatest effort toward advancing the bilateral relationship between Taiwan and Japan," he said.
Su and a party coalition embarked yesterday for Japan, where they will call on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan Restoration Party, national think tanks, Taiwanese expatriates in Japan and the Japanese Diet over five days.
Other delegates include former Representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (許世楷) and DPP lawmakers Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) and Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤).
The overseas mission is Su's first since taking the party helm last May.
"We chose to prioritize Japan, a very important neighbor for Taiwan and a nation that has maintained a friendship with us for many years," he said.