IT'D BE A GOOD FIRST STEP:

Former Taiwan President Lee Says Island `Independent’ (Hiroshi Suzuki, June 9, 2007, Bloomberg)

Taiwan is an independent nation and should strive to free itself from China’s influence, former President Lee Teng-hui said on the last day of a trip to Japan.

“Taiwan has been independent, and the Taiwanese people have the clear belief that it is theirs,” Lee, 84, told reporters in Tokyo today. “Taiwan should start walking toward a new direction of freedom and democracy, or else remain forever within China’s fluctuating political influence.”

Japan’s government distanced itself from Lee’s 11-day trip to avoid angering China, which considers Taiwan its own territory and was infuriated by Lee’s emphasis on Taiwan’s sovereignty during his 12 years in office. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki earlier this week said Lee came to Japan “as a private citizen” unrelated to any government relationship.

China’s government was “very dissatisfied” with Lee’s trip, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters in Beijing on June 7.

One salutary step we could take vis-a-vis China is to officially repudiate the one-China policy and fully recognize the independence of one of our best allies.

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