Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Thailand invites CLA's Chen to sign labor pact

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Thailand Trade and Economic Office yesterday issued an invitation to Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) to attend a signing ceremony for a bilateral agreement on the direct hiring of Thai laborers in Bangkok early next month.

Reacting to the invitation, Chen said yesterday evening that she would make a decision on whether to visit after Thailand offers a complete proposal for her trip.

"Diplomacy is not the CLA's main concern, but we can't allow Taiwan's national dignity to be damaged when we promote our labor policies," Chen said in a press release issued last night.

The Thai representative office said yesterday that its foreign and labor ministries had cooperated on plans for Chen's visit prior to issuing the invitation, meaning there shouldn't be any complications.

The release said the location of signing ceremony has been changed from Phuket to Bangkok, which it said means means the Thai government has taken the issue seriously.

Chen was originally scheduled to visit Thailand in August to attend an annual bilateral labor affairs conference and witness the signing of the direct hiring agreement.

However, Thai authorities denied her visa application. Chen called off her travel plans and announced an indefinite postponement of the signing of the labor pact.

Thailand later offered an official apology to Taiwan for its handling of Chen's visa application.

With more than 2,000 prospective workers waiting to come to Taiwan, Thai authorities sent a delegation to Taipei to mend ties on Nov 1.

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