Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai leaves after a funeral of the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan July 12, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Vice President of Taiwan, Lai Ching-te, was on Monday present for a wake held in honour of deceased Shinzo Abe; the assassinated ex-president of Japan.

The wake which held at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo, was also attended by United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, U.S. ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, Chinese ambassador to Japan, Kong Xuanyou, and hundreds of other dignitaries.

The Taiwan VP Lai, was accompanied by a Taiwan representative to Japan, Frank Hsieh, to pay his tribute at Zojoji Temple, where the remains of Abe was laid. Prior to his arrival at the temple, the Taiwan VP stopped at the residence of the deceased to condole with loved ones.

The visit has however upset Beijing, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced that it’s embassy in Japan had lodged “stern representations” with the government of Japan about Taiwan Vice President William Lai attending the funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, speaking at a regular news briefing in Beijing, said Taiwan was a part of China and “does not have a so-called vice-president”.

“After the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Abe, the Taiwan authorities used the opportunity to engage in political manipulation,” Wang said. “It’s impossible this kind of scheming will succeed.”

Since Japan ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan fifty years ago, both countries have failed to come to a resolution on certain fronts. Tai’s tributary visit makes him the highest ranking Taiwanese government personnel to touchdown on Japanese soil in recent times. His arrival also resulted in a confirmation to Tokyo; stating the VP had visited in a private capacity.

Local media outlets termed the announcement of Tai’s arrival in Japan as ‘rare’ due to the bad blood between both Asian countries. They also hinted on a possible conflict arising from Beijing; referring to tensions between Taiwan and China’s territorial conflict.

Furthermore, Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); which is the present ruling party, informed a media outlet that an invite had been extended to Taiwan VP Lai, and confirmed he will attend Abe’s funeral scheduled for Tuesday.

Shinzo Abe, a former president of Japan, was shot twice on Friday while speaking at a rally in the Southern city of Nara. He died shortly after; with a 41-year-old shooter being arrested at the scene of the murder.

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