Sat, Jul 19, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Wu attends cultural event with German diplomats

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wu Shu-chen presides over the opening ceremony of an exhibition at Berlin's Alter Museum.


Taiwan's representative to Germany Hu Wen-jen (胡為真) yesterday said during an exhibition of the National Palace Museum's treasures in Berlin attended by first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) that it was the greatest cultural occasion in the past half century between Taiwan and Germany and that the relationships between two countries has successfully resulted in a subtle development.

Wu's comment came after the opening ceremony of the exhibition at Berlin's Alter Museum presided over by first lady Wu Shu-chen, who is leading a delegation on a cultural tour in Europe.

Although there was no official from the German government present at the occasion, Hu Wen-jen still stressed that the first lady's visit as well as the cultural event will have a positive impact on two countries' friendship and promote concrete exchanges between Taiwan and Germany.

Meanwhile, the parliament's Deputy Speaker Hermann Otto Solms told Taiwan's media that Wu's visit signifies "an important moment for both Taiwan and Germany."

"The National Palace Museum exhibition is the greatest cultural exchange event between Taiwan and Germany in the past half century," Hu said.

"The German hosts have also shown their utmost sincerity and courtesy, with the leaders of the four major parties, including the chairman of the budget committee, who is the most senior MP in the parliament, abandoning their vacation plans to welcome the first lady. Even Dr. Klaus Rose, the chairman of the parliament's Taiwan Caucus traveled some 10 hours by train to join her for lunch," he said.

Yesterday, Wu visited the German parliament, and the parliament treated her as a top-level guest with diplomats acting as her guide. Solms also accompanied her on the entire parliament tour.

But when questioned about whether this indicated a new advance in the relationship between Taiwan and Germany, Solms showed some reservations. He described Wu's visit as "an important moment," but he did not typify the exhibition as a breakthrough.

Prominent figures

A lot of prominent figures from the European culture circle were present at the opening cocktail party for the Treasures of the Sons of Heaven exhibition in the evening. When the head of the Federal Republic of Germany's Arts and Exhibition Hall Wenzel Jacob introduced the first lady from Taiwan, all guests saluted Wu with a standing ovation. Wu, however, did not deliver a public speech as expected.

"It was according to the understanding between Taiwan and Germany because the cocktail party was a cultural event between the two museums, so there was no political speech. But on the VIP night on the 18th, the first lady will give a public speech," said James Huang (黃志芳), the President Office spokesman who is accompanying Wu in the trip.

Huang stressed that there was no such a thing as a prohibition on Wu giving public speeches from the German government. Huang said that former Dutch prime minister Andreas van Agt, chairman of foreign affairs committee Henk de Haan, Czech Minister of Culture Pavel Dostal, convener of the Taiwan Caucus in the Austrian parliament Wolfgang Grossruck, chairman of Taiwan Caucus in the Irish parliament Batt O'Keeffe and Vice President of European Parliament David Martin would attend the VIP night, and the first lady would elaborate on Taiwan's transfer of power and democratic achievement.

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