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Wed, Nov 01, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Uncertainty remains over representation at Brunei summit

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

With only two weeks to go before this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Brunei, uncertainty remains over who will represent Taiwan.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) officials said yesterday KMT Vice Chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) was still the person chosen to represent President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the summit.

"So far we haven't received any instructions regarding a change of representative," said Andrew Hsia (夏立言), director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organizations.

Although claiming that the KMT still had the final say on whether he should serve as Chen's envoy, Siew expressed his reservations on the arrangement yesterday following the recent fracas between the KMT and the DPP over the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Siew said if the KMT failed to perceive the DPP as "trustworthy," then he wondered if he could do his job well by representing the DPP's Chen at the APEC summit.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) had initially given the nod to the arrangement following confirmation from summit host Brunei last week that Siew was welcome to represent Chen.

But the DPP-led Cabinet announced abruptly last Friday that the government had decided to scrap construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, a move that came almost immediately after the meeting between Chen and Lien.

Lien then announced a delay in the KMT's approval of Siew's assignment to go to the APEC summit, a move that provoked harsh words from Chen.

KMT spokesman Jason Hu (胡志強) told the Taipei Times yesterday evening that the Presidential Office had not contacted the KMT to inquire as to whether Siew would still attend.

"The only message we've received was the president's criticism," Hu said.

Taiwan's initial choice of Vice Premier Lai In-jaw (賴英照) was turned down by the oil-rich country following pressure from China that Taiwan's president, premier and vice premier were not allowed to attend the summit.

Siew represented former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) previously at APEC summits in 1993 and 1994 in his capacity as the chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

Meanwhile, the Board of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced yesterday that Taiwan would propose a two-year project entitled "Transforming the Digital Divide into a Digital Opportunity" at the upcoming APEC meeting.

Although e-commerce has become one of the most popular themes of various seminars held under the umbrella of APEC, the 21-member group still has a substantial "knowledge gap" regarding the benefits of e-commerce, MOEA officials said.

"Taiwan's initiative was to share our experiences in e-commerce with developing economies in APEC," said Wayne Wu (吳文雅), director-general of the Board of Foreign Trade.

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