TAIPEI — Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian on Monday asked Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara to support a visit to Japan by former President Lee Teng-hui, according to officials of the Presidential Office.

Chen also asked Ishihara to help his newly launched government build communication channels with Japan during the meeting.

The meeting took place at the Presidential Office, which is also the former palace of the governor general during the Japanese Imperial era and the symbol of the Kuomintang’s half-century rule since.

“I believe former President Lee’s visit will promote exchange in the private sector and understanding between Japan and Taiwan,” Chen was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Presidential Office.

China has warned Japan and other countries against inviting Lee even after his retirement as Taiwan president.

In the 30-minute talk, Ishihara offered to do “his utmost” for Chen.

Speaking with reporters, the 67-year-old governor said he told the president that he would be delighted to maintain friendly relations with the new administration. and work on bilateral ties.

Ishihara quoted Chen as saying: “You have been maintaining very good relations with former President Lee Teng-hui. I hope that you will extend your friendship also to me.”