Sun, Nov 05, 2006 - Page 1 News List

David Lee says indictment will not affect US policy

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

US policy toward Taiwan will not change as a result of the indictment of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) for alleged corruption and the implication of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Washington, David Lee (李大維).

After a long day of intensive talks with US officials and his staff after news of the indictments broke, Lee said, "in the end, US policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged, and the US will not interfere in the domestic politics of Taiwan," Lee told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview late on Friday.

Nevertheless, he said, Washington has an intense interest in what is happening in Taiwan.

"Basically, people are extremely concerned because they know the ramifications could be very important. They are still watching and observing the fallout. It is still too early to tell," how Washington will respond in the end, he said.

During the day, Lee had at least three meetings with US officials, including, it is believed, the White House. While he would not confirm that he talked with the White House, Lee noted that "the White House is always interested" in what happens in Taiwan.

He would not comment on what he and the US officials discussed, but he said the US government asked him to relay messages back to Taipei, which Taiwanese officials would have read when they arrived at their office yesterday morning.

US officials are "very interested observers," Lee said, "because the US has a lot of interests in Taiwan." He added that "they have a very deep knowledge of what's going on in Taiwan."

Adding to that knowledge was their reading of several cables sent from Taipei by the American Institute in Taiwan.

Lee could not say how the indictment and the implication of Chen would affect US-Taiwan relations in the long run.

Nor would he comment on whether the US government would be happy if Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) ended up as president if Chen resigned.

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