Response to May 15 comment

Lack of accuracy in the interpretation of the war in the Asian battlefield begs clarification. Thus, the Representative of the Taipei Representative Office, Ambassador Paul Chang, contributes this essay in response to the commentary piece by Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli published on May 15, 2015, in Kathimerini English Edition. Plus the issue of his embassy refusing to grant visa to those Greeks who had visited Taiwan.

Truth in the World War II Asian battlefield history

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. For the people in the Republic of China (Taiwan), it is also the 70th anniversary of the victory of winning the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), or the War of eight-year Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

Taiwan will not yield to any distortion of the historical facts of World War II by the Japanese right-wing forces who tend to deny the history by attempting to cover up the massacres and insisting on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine of WWII war criminals. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to release a statement in August on the 70th anniversary, the Taiwan government has urged the Japanese government to reflect on its wartime aggression.

On the other hand, Beijing should honestly examine the role it played in resisting Japanese aggression.

Let truth be told: it was mainly the Republic of China military (the Nationalists or the Kuomintang forces, which were later on relocated to Taiwan) led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek that took on the Japanese, while the communists played a lesser role. In fact, the People’s Republic of China did not exist during the war – it was established four years later, after the war. It should not take the credit of restoring peace to the region.

History holds valuable lessons. Wars teach us to move forward toward peaceful and cooperative development. The Republic of China (Taiwan) has since reconciled with the aggressor and the communist in the mainland China. Today, Mainland China is our largest trading partner and Japan is our third largest trading partner. Taiwan and Japan have signed 25 agreements to date, including signing on April 10, 2013, the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement, created an arrangement for handling fisheries issues stemming from overlapping exclusive economic zones, resolving long-term fishery disputes between the two countries, but also has further ensured peace in the region.

President Ma Ying-jeou has sought to improve relations with mainland China since he took office in 2008. Progress has been made on many levels, with the two sides having signed 21 agreements; in addition, the ministers on either side responsible for cross-strait affairs began to hold discussions last year and will meet again this month, which was unprecedented.

Chinese Embassy rejects to issue visa to the Greek who had been to Taiwan

In Ambassador Zou’s article, he mentioned that Mainland China and Greece understand each other’s core interest and concerns. Yet, since 2014, the Chinese Embassy in Greece has rejected to grant travel visa to those Greek businessmen or students if they had visited Taiwan.

Mainland Chinese have made about 14 million visits to Taiwan over the past 7 years, with 3.94 million of these visits being made last year alone. The number of mainland students coming to Taiwan to study has risen to over 32,000 presently.

The cold war mentality of the Chinese Embassy in Athens completely contradicts Ambassador Zou’s statement in the article. We want to ask Ambassador Zou this: why can millions of Mainland Chinese visit Taiwan for business or study, but the Greeks will have to suffer the consequences if they dare visit Taiwan?

Ambassador Paul Kuoboug Chang, Representative, Taipei Representative Office in Greece

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