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MOFA will not ask Japan to recall its representative: vice FM

MOFA will not ask Japan to recall its representative: vice FM

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that it has no plan to declare Masaki Saito, Japan's representative in Taiwan, persona non grata because of a controversial remark he made and will not ask the Japanese government to recall him.
“This (to request the Japanese government to recall Saito) is not part of the government's plan, ”said Vice Foreign Minister David Lin.“We will also not declare him unwelcome.” He made the remarks in response to eight opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, who came to the MOFA to protest against the ministry's handling of the matter.
Saito, head of the Taipei office of Japan's Interchange Association -- Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan -- said May 1 at an annual meeting of the Republic of China International Relations Association that Taiwan's status was still unclear.
Saito later apologized and retracted his remarks after Deputy Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia summoned him, lodged a protest and demanded an explanation.
According to a statement from the MOFA, Saito told Hsia that it was purely his personal view that Taiwan's status was still unresolved and that his comment did not reflect the position of the Japanese government.
The leaders of the legislative caucus of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) adopted a resolution Monday urging the Cabinet to declare Saito persona non grata over the remarks and said that Japan should recall Saito.
DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching, accompanied by seven other DPP lawmakers, said in a meeting with Lin that Saito's contention that Taiwan's status was unclear was true.
The MOFA's protest without clarifying Taiwan's status would imply that the country's status had been defined and that it was part of the People's Republic of China (PRC), she argued.
Lin said that the Republic of China is without any doubt a sovereign independent country and not part of the PRC. Saito's remarks did not reflect the Japanese government's position, Lin added, and Saito had already apologized to the Foreign Ministry.
Asked what the Japanese government's position is, Peter Tsai, secretary-general of the MOFA's Association of East Asian Relations, said in the same meeting that Japan sees itself as in no position to comment or define Taiwan's status after it gave up the island and that Saito's remarks went beyond such a position.
“Japan's government has already expressed discontent over Saito's remarks. Atsushi Hatakenaka, president of Interchange Association, also explained Japan's position to John Feng, Taiwan's representative to Japan,”Tsai said.
“Our government values our bilateral relations with Japan very much. We thought they were simply Saito's personal remarks and hoped that this incident would have a perfect ending without affecting bilateral relations,”he added.
Japan ruled Taiwan for 50 years until Oct. 25, 1945, when it gave up control of the island after losing World War II.
(By Rachel Chan)




Updated : 2021-04-21 01:27 GMT+08:00