Lee's Asian trips prompt only mild protest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 February, 1994, 12:00am

BEIJING yesterday issued a relatively mild protest to a newspaper report that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui is to spend his Lunar New Year holidays in a number of Southeast Asian countries.

Xinhua (the New China News Agency) quoted the Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Jianmin as saying that Taipei was trying to develop ''substantive relations'' with these countries through his holiday diplomacy.

''This is something the Chinese Government and people are strongly opposed to and can never accept,'' Mr Wu was quoted as saying.

''Should the governments of the countries having diplomatic relations with China endorse Lee Teng-hui's trips, in whatever name and form, it will deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damage the friendly relations and co-operation between China and the countries concerned,'' he added.

But Mr Wu stopped short of saying that China had lodged any official protests with the governments.

Seasoned observers said that Mr Wu's protest was relatively mild pointing out that the report about Mr Lee's Asian tour came just one day after the conclusion of the much-publicised meeting between representatives from the two sides in Beijing.

They said during the meeting, Beijing apparently made a number of concessions to Taipei over areas such as repatriation of hijackers and the settlement of fishing disputes.