Fri, Mar 29, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Eugene Chien to travel to Central America in April

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) will visit Nicaragua next month for the annual meeting with his Central American counterparts, but any stopover in the US is still up in the air, sources said yesterday.

"The minister is scheduled to attend the annual meeting with his counterparts from Central American countries slated to be held in Nicaragua on April 24," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Katharine Chang (張小月).

"Neither his related itinerary nor his transit have been confirmed," Chang said when asked whether the US had refused to issue Chien a transit visa in the wake of the National Security Bureau scandal.

"The whole case is still in the planning stage, so there is no such a thing as a `cancellation,'" an insider within the foreign ministry said.

Judith Mudd-Krijgelmans, spokesperson for the American Institute in Taiwan, was also tight-lipped when asked to comment on any transit visa for Chien.

"I have no comment," she said.

Taiwan's foreign ministers have been barred from visiting Washington based on an understanding between the US and Taiwan.

Aside from Chien, participants in the meeting will include foreign ministers from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, Panama and Dominica.

Chien's scheduled visit to Nicaragua, if realized, would be his first official overseas trip since he took over the post as minister last month.

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