Former US president Bill Clinton and former vice president Al Gore are expected to visit Taipei during the next two months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, which was founded by senior government officials to promote democracy, will be hosting Clinton's visit, scheduled for November. The exact date of Clinton's visit has yet to be finalized.
The foundation is inviting Clinton to give a speech on the development of democracy and human rights in East Asia.
"He [Clinton] is interested," a high-ranking ministry official said.
According to the official, Clinton will also be exchanging opinions with government officials on various issues. Further details about Clinton's visit will be released when the arrangements have been settled, the official said.
"The ministry is delighted to see Clinton will be visiting," a ministry spokesman said.
The ministry declined to reveal how much the foundation will be paying for Clinton's visit. However, it said the payment for Clinton's speech might be donated to a Clinton memorial library currently under construction in Arkansas.
Clinton reportedly receives US$100,000 for each speech.
In September 2001, a local Chinese-language newspaper invited Clinton to Taiwan for a four-day visit, but the trip was cancelled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Clinton visited Taiwan four times when he was governor of Arkansas. This year's visit will be his fifth visit and the first since he stepped down from presidency in 2001.
Two other former US presidents have visited Taiwan.
Jimmy Carter came in 1999 and George Bush, President George W. Bush's father, visited in 1992.
Gore is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Oct. 13, mainly to deliver a keynote speech at the 2003 International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Carnahan Conference on Security Technology slated for Oct. 14 to Oct. 16 in Taipei, foreign ministry officials said.
The conference, the 37th of its kind, will be sponsored by the US International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Lexington Section, the institute's Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, Taiwan's National Central University, the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology and a number of other organizations from the two countries.
The Central News Agency quoted a conference sponsor in Taipei as saying sponsors have made "E-security" the theme of this year's conference because of the significance and urgency of this issue in modern society.
The democracy foundation, which will be holding a seminar to discuss other countries' experiences of referendums in the middle of October, said it wants to invite Gore to join its workshops.
The foundation has yet to arrange Gore's participation in the seminar and said it would not reveal the details until nearer the time, as referendums are a politically sensitive issue.