Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lu pushes for new global lobby group

INTERNATIONAL SPACE Her eye on China, the vice president wants to build a network of offices in 20 cities around the world to advance the interests of the nation

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is pushing for the formation of a worldwide network of lobby groups that will mobilize on behalf of the nation in times of need.

Lu said the network, tentatively dubbed "Friends of Taiwan International," would set up coordination centers in 20 cities this year.

"We must bring together [important figures] in these major cities to form the network so that they can provide assistance when Taiwan and its people need help or suffer oppression by China," Lu said yesterday.

During an interview with the Taipei Times and Liberty Times, Lu stressed the importance of forging international space, expanding the nation's visibility and creating more opportunities for it to enter key international organizations.

Lu did not say which part of the government would fund the network, but she indicated it would operate from the office of the vice president.

Lu said the second Democratic Pacific Assembly (DPA), to be held from Aug. 13 to Aug. 15, would also bring influential figures and heads of state to the country to discuss cooperation on a wide range of issues, including regional security, ocean resources, industrial development and technology exchange, along with the promotion of democracy.

The assembly was formed last year to facilitate communication between the nation's allies in Central America and the Pacific and between other Pacific and East Asian countries, as well as promoting democracy, human rights and freedom.

"Last August, 68 important figures from 24 countries, including five vice presidents, attended the first assembly," Lu said. "This year, we are honored that incoming Salvadoran President Elias Antonio Saca has promised to participate in the second session of the assembly."

Lu said another main theme of this year's assembly is to encourage young talent to develop experience in international contexts and to promote the nation's achievements internationally.


On this theme, she continued to invoke Central America, a subject which has caused her to be the object of ridicule in recent weeks for suggesting that victims of Tropical Storm Mindulle relocate there.

"Younger generations are attracted to Japanese and Korean pop culture," Lu said. "I will therefore promote Latin pop culture in universities and colleges. Next year, when our allies in Central America jointly celebrate their anniversaries of independence, [our] young people can launch a Latin Festival on all campuses."

Lu said that demonstrating the nation's concern for its Central American allies could cement relations in the region and eventually prompt more countries to support its bid to join the Organization of American States.

"Taiwan needs the support of another nine countries to become an OAS member," Lu said. "The third DPA and the [campus] Latin Festival next year may serve as a bridge for the government in developing relationships with the nations of Central and South America."


When asked about "black terror," a term she used to criticize media comments leveled against her, Lu said she had meant to remind the public to supervise the performance of the media and to guide reporters so that they exercise "real freedom of the press."

"You know that the Aboriginal communities misunderstood my recent remarks about the ecological crisis and emigration policy after the tropical storm damaged mountain areas in central Taiwan," she said.

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