Sun, Dec 29, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Lu calls for women to stand on own two feet

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) shared her experiences in participating in international affairs and reiterated her ambition to establish a democratic pacific union in a seminar yesterday.

The seminar, entitled "Taiwan women's experiences in joining international affairs," was hosted by the National Union of Taiwan Women Association in National Taiwan University.

The seminar aimed to tackle the obstacles Taiwan women encounter in participating in international affairs and discuss how Taiwan's nongovernmental organizations many enter the international arena.

"Women should exercise their wisdom to create a way of their own when joining international affairs," Lu said.

"Since I became vice president, I have been to more than 10 countries, including Indonesia, which has no diplomatic ties with us," Lu said.

On Aug. 14 this year, Lu made an unannounced trip to Indonesia and was initially denied entry at Jakarta International Airport. After a lengthy delay, she was allowed to travel to the resort island of Bali.

Eventually however, she did make the trip to Jakarta and -- despite protests from China -- met with government officials there.

At the time, Chairman of the opposition PFP James Soong (宋楚瑜) describing Lu's trip as a disaster saying that Lu had "bumped into an iceberg."

Soong also said that "Her Indonesian trip reveals the incompetence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

However, Lu stressed she did make many efforts in promoting and developing Taiwan's foreign relations. "Many of those who criticized me regard themselves as experts in foreign affairs," Lu said.

"But what I have been doing is anything but meddling with Taiwan's foreign affairs," added Lu.

"True diplomacy should not be dollar diplomacy. People cannot say Taiwan's diplomatic situation is poor just because our diplomatic allies are few, either," Lu noted.

Lu said she will continue promoting Taiwan's foreign affairs.

She said she planned to convene the Democratic Pacific Assembly in June of next year to prepare for the establishment of the democratic pacific union.

According to Lu, Japan, US, Indonesia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Panama and Costa Rica have already agreed to join the organization.

Lu said she hopes to recruit all 34 Pacific Rim countries to join the union, which aims to strengthen the exchange and cooperation between its member countries.

Meanwhile, Yang Huang Maysing (楊黃美幸), vice chairwoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Research and Planning Board, suggested that if Taiwan's NGOs want to attend international conferences, they need to fully understand the agendas.

"If Taiwan's NGOs want to draw the attention of other countries, they need to offer helpful input," Yang Huang said.

On another matter, Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said that female diplomats need to know how to deal with sexual harassment.

Hsiao once served as the director of DPP's Department of International Affairs.

"In many diplomatic situations, I need to socialize with people positively. However, in some conservative countries, some male politicians would think my behavior allows them to harass me sexually," Hsiao said.

Hsiao also said that women can indeed perform better than men in diplomatic affairs because of their superior rhetoric skills.

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