Ma will postpone visits to allies in Africa, official says

OUT OF AFRICA::Ma’s aides said the decision to postpone the visits was made after considering domestic issues, including the widening wealth gap

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will postpone his visits to the nation’s allies in Africa in order to focus on major domestic issues such as flood-control and consumer prices, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Samuel Chen (陳士良), director-general of the ministry’s Department of African Affairs, said the ministry had been arranging state visits to several African allies for the middle to end of next month. However, because of other considerations, the ministry will ask representatives stationed in the allied nations to convey the latest decision, Chen said, adding that the ministry would continue to assess an appropriate time for the president to visit.

Presidential aides, who asked not be identified, said the decision to postpone the Africa visits was made after considering current domestic issues, which include the widening wealth gap and the high unemployment rate.

Since taking office in May 2008, Ma has paid state visits to Latin America and the South Pacific, but he has not yet visited Africa.