Thu, Jul 24, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Chen planning official trip abroad

WELL-TRAVELED PAIR During a press conference to welcome home his wife from her trip to Europe, the president said he was planning his own journey

CNA , TAIPEI

First lady Wu Shu-chen yesterday speaks at a press conference held at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport upon her return from a nine-day European tour, as President Chen Shui-bian looks on.

PHOTO: TONY YAO, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) confirmed yesterday that he will make an official visit abroad later this year.

At a news conference held at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport following first lady Wu Shu-chen's (吳淑珍) return from a nine-day European tour to Germany and the Vatican, Chen confirmed media reports that he would make a trip but would not say to where.

The trip would have been made earlier had it not been for the SARS outbreak that gripped the country between April and June, he said.

Chen said he was satisfied with the smooth conclusion of his wife's European tour, which was aimed at promoting cultural exchanges and friendship with Europe.

Because of Beijing's diplomatic embargo, Chen said, Taiwan faces enormous difficulties in promoting its international profile. He lauded Wu, who has used a wheelchair since a truck ran her over in 1985, for her fortitude and devotion in promoting the nation's visibility in the world arena.

"Wu is unable to stand on her feet, but she has completed the long-distance diplomatic tour with her strong will and passion," Chen said, adding that he was moved when the Ciampino military airport in Rome hoisted the ROC national flag to welcome Wu last Sunday for a visit to the Vatican -- Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe.

Chen said that even though China has spared no effort to suppress Taiwan's presence in the international community, the people of Taiwan will not be daunted by such challenges.

Following Wu's two-leg European tour, Chen said his administration will launch many more diplomatic drives in the coming months.

Next month, he said, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will travel to Paraguay to attend the inauguration of its new president on behalf of himself and the government. Lu will visit several other countries and will make transit stops in some major US cities during the trip, he said.

In late August, Chen went on, a summit meeting between Taiwan and its Central American allies will be held in Taipei.

This story has been viewed 2680 times.
TOP top