Japan's new leader hopes for phone call with President Tsai: Mori

09/18/2020 10:33 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (right)/CNA, Kyodo News file photos
President Tsai Ing-wen (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (right)/CNA, Kyodo News file photos

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is hoping to talk to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by phone, a former Japanese leader said during his meeting with Tsai at the Presidential Office on Friday.

On a two-day trip to Taiwan to attend the official memorial service for late President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), ex-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said Suga called him Thursday to send his greetings to Tsai and express interest in talking to her by phone if there is an opportunity.

If that were to happen, it would be the first direct conversation between the incumbent leaders of the two countries since formal diplomatic ties were severed in 1972.

During the 30-minute meeting with Mori, Tsai said she hoped Taiwan-Japan ties will continue to deepen in all areas, and congratulated Suga on his election as Japan's new prime minister earlier this week.

Mori echoed Tsai's remarks, saying that Taiwan and Japan are like-minded partners who share the same values of freedom and democracy.

Tsai thanked Japan for extending goodwill to both Lee and Taiwan through Mori's second visit to the country in less than two months.

In addition, Tsai and Mori exchanged the jackets to be used by Taiwanese and Japanese athletes during the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, while Tsai also gave Mori EasyCard souvenirs with an Olympic theme.

The delegation led by Mori, Japan's prime minister from 2000 to 2001, will pay tribute to Lee during a memorial to be held at the chapel of Aletheia University in Tamsui, New Taipei on Saturday.

The 83-year-old politician previously led a 16-member parliamentary delegation to pay tribute to Lee at a memorial held at Taipei Guest House on Aug. 9.

Lee died at the age of 97 on July 30 at Taipei Veterans General Hospital after being hospitalized for over five months. He served as president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 1988-2000.

(By Yu Hsiang, Yang Ming-chu and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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