Former Japan premier Mori visits Taiwan to mourn ex-president Lee Teng-hui

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – Former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori is visiting Taiwan on Sunday (Aug 9) to pay his respects to the late president Lee Teng-hui.

Mr Mori is accompanied by nine Japanese lawmakers from various political parties, the Japanese Sankei newspaper reported. The group will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at 4pm local time, according to an announcement on Ms Tsai’s Facebook page.

That meeting will be livestreamed on Ms Tsai’s Facebook page. Mr Mori and the lawmakers will then pay their respects at a memorial hall before returning to Japan.

The visit comes on the same day that US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar arrives in Taiwan. Mr Azar will be the highest-ranking US official in decades to visit the island and his trip stands to further worsen spiralling relations between the United States and China.

The visit from the Japanese lawmakers and Mr Mori may also worsen Japan-China relations, which have been damaged by stepped-up Chinese challenges to Japanese control over an island chain in the East China Sea. The islands are claimed by Japan, mainland China and Taiwan, but controlled by Japan.

After Mr Lee’s death on July 30, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised him for his role in bringing democracy to Taiwan and for building ties with Japan.

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