Taiwan Vice President Makes Rare Japan Visit to Pay Respects to Abe – Official Media | World News

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan Vice President William Lai became the most senior Taiwan official to visit Japan in five decades by travelling to Tokyo on Monday to offer condolences after the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the official Central News Agency reported.

Taiwan’s CNA said Lai was the most senior official to visit Japan since Tokyo broke official ties with Taipei in 1972 and forged relations with Beijing.

Like most nations, Japan has no formal diplomatic ties with the Chinese-claimed island, but some senior Japanese officials have become increasingly outspoken on their support for Taiwan in recent years.

China says the democratic island does not have the right to state-to-state relations and has stepped up efforts to isolate it diplomatically.

Lai was seen earlier Monday visiting Abe’s residence with Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Japan, Frank Hsieh, according to Japanese media reports.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry was unable to immediately comment, while its Taiwan counterpart said in a statement it would not comment on Lai’s “personal schedule”. It did not elaborate.

Earlier on Monday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen offered her condolences in a visit to Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei, saying she will continue Abe’s legacy of closer Taiwan-Japan relationships and deepen ties between the two sides.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Elaine Lies in Tokyo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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