Mon, May 01, 2006 - Page 1 News List

MOFA rips China on Su's Haiti trip

INTERFERENCE The ministry blasted China and the premier accused Chinese President Hu Jintao of going back on his promise after Su's trip to Haiti was nixed

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AP

Taiwan has accused China of pressuring Haiti to block a planned visit to the Caribbean country by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Su was supposed to travel to Haiti as President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) envoy to attend the May 14 inauguration of president-elect Rene Preval.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement late on Saturday that China had "intimidated" Haiti with a threat to vote against a UN plan to continue a peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country.

Bowing to pressure from Bei-jing, Preval asked Taiwan to send a lower level official to the inauguration, it said.

Su yesterday condemned Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) for breaking his promises by interfering with the premier's trip to Haiti.

Su said that Hu had promised former chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Lien Chan (連戰) during Lien's recent trip to Beijing that he would give Taiwan more international space, but "it turned out that Hu said one thing and did another."

"Hu's promise was like a bad check," Su said.

"China has been resorting to every conceivable means to squeeze Taiwan's international space," he said. "Haiti is one of our diplomatic allies, but I won't be able to go to Haiti to congratulate its newly elected president -- more's the pity."

Su made the remarks yesterday during a trip to inspect the Taiwan Orchid Plantation located in Tainan County's Houbi (後壁) Township.

According to the MOFA statement, the nation expresses its "strong displeasure at China's savage deed of intimidating Haiti and exerting pressure through the international community ... in an attempt to further suppress our room for international activities."

Taiwan, however, will comply and select a new envoy to the inauguration "for the sake of maintaining our two countries' long-term ties," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Mark Ho (何敏豪) supported Su's criticism of Hu, saying that China's interference in Su's trip proved that Beijing's policies do not benefit Taiwan, despite its claims to the contrary.

"By the same token, the 15 measures promoting private exchanges across the strait that Hu promised to Lien during the economic forum held by the KMT and Chinese Communist Party were also China's `united front' tactics," he said.

However, People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said that Su should not shift the blame onto others.

"It's not new that China has been oppressing Taiwan's international space. The government should have taken the `China factor' into account while it was arranging Su's visit. It should have widely publicized Su's visit before his departure," Lu said.

Preval was elected in February, two years after a bloody revolt toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, plunging the nation into chaos. He has since sought foreign aid to help rebuild the impoverished nation.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss maintaining the peacekeeping force in Haiti in August. China is a veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

Haiti is one of the nation's 25 remaining allies, which are mostly small, impoverished nations in Africa and Central and South America.

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