Thu, May 22, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Singapore denies `evacuation' of troops, gives aid

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The bilateral Singapore-Taipei Star Light Project, under which Taiwan provides training facilities for Singaporean troops, has been temporarily suspended in light of the SARS outbreak, Ker Sin Tze, trade representative of the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei said yesterday.

"This training has come to a temporary suspension because of the SARS outbreak ... This is not the so-called `evacuation,'" Ker said.

Ker made the statement yesterday afternoon after a ceremony at the foreign ministry during which he symbolically passed on to Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) medical supplies donated by Singapore to help combat the spread of SARS.

Ker said he was delighted to present these items to Taiwan on behalf of the government and people of Singapore, while adding that he hopes the SARS outbreak would be soon brought under control in Taiwan.

A China Airlines flight carried the 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 surgical masks, 100,000 N95 masks and 15 boxes of chemical agents for testing for the SARS virus to Chiang Kai-shek airport, according to Eleanor Kang, assistant trade representative at the Singapore Trade Office.

Another two thermo-scanners, which would be loaned to Taiwan, are slated to reach Taiwan from Singapore today, according to Kang.

Singapore had proposed to send medical experts to Taiwan to help combat the flu-like deadly disease if necessary, although Taiwan has yet to make such a request, Ker told the press.

On behalf of the government and the people of Taiwan, Chien expressed gratitude for the substantive gesture from Singapore.

The ministry in a press release yesterday also expressed its gratitude to South Korea after Seoul announced last week that it would donate some 15,000 surgical masks to Taiwan to help combat the SARS outbreak.

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