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PacNet #17 – Taiwanese Election Creates New Challenges for Japan on Cross-Straits Relations

The victory of Democratic Progressive Party leader Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan’s mid-March presidential election was hailed in the international press as a “democratic breakthrough” and a “peaceful revolution” since it overturned more than a half-century of rule by the once-dictatorial Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party. Tokyo might have been expected to look favorably on the transformation of Taiwan’s political system into one that more closely resembles its own, yet officials responded cautiously to the power shift. Foreign Minister Yohei Kono reiterated the government’s commitment to the one-China policy embodied in the 1972 friendship treaty with the People’s Republic of China and urged a peaceful settlement of the “issue relating to Taiwan” through a direct dialogue between Taipei and Beijing.