Wed, Jan 27, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Pan-blues greet President Ma in San Francisco

SILENT TREATMENT Pan-green supporters said they did not stage a protest as it would only bring attention to Ma, whose popularity has dipped to 23 percent


Hsu and Chi were sent to Santo Domingo to receive medical attention after being pulled out from debris in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

They had been trapped for six hours before rescuers found them.

As rescue operations in Haiti draw to a close, the president said reconstruction and relocation projects will ensue, which he said could take five to 10 years or even longer.

As a diplomatic ally and member of the global community, Ma said Taiwan was duty-bound to assist Haiti to get back on its feet, adding that the country has a lot to offer after Typhoon Morakot lashed central and southern Taiwan last August, killing hundreds.

“This is just the beginning,” the president said.

“We are glad to offer a helping hand to any country in need, especially our diplomatic ally,” he said.

Ma’s presidential jet is carrying 10 tonnes of relief goods, including medical supplies, milk powder, cookies and canned corn.

They will be transported by land from the Dominican Republic to Haiti on arrival, Ma said.

Ma lauded the country’s rescue teams in Haiti, which he said has attracted international attention for their outstanding performance.

“I kept saying over the past year that we don’t want to conduct ‘dollar diplomacy’ any more,” he said. “Let’s use our soft power, trade, culture, humanitarian assistance and human rights to make friends.”

Ma said his trip consists of two themes: celebration (attending Lobo’s inauguration) and humanity (delivering aid goods).

During his stay in Honduras, Ma said he hoped he could pick up where he left off last June.

Ma had planned to visit Honduras during a visit to the region last year but canceled at the last minute because of escalating tensions there, which he described yesterday as “a surprising political dispute.”

Ma said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was cautious in responding to the Honduran crisis at first but later joined the international community in condemning the coup.

The interim government encountered many difficulties at the beginning, but Taiwan had stood by it all along, he said.

Ma said he was happy to see a new government elected in November, helping the country return to the path to democracy.

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