Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Ambassador to the Holy See rethinks plan to quit post

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Raymond Tai (戴瑞明), Taiwan's ambassador to the Holy See, has decided to reconsider his resignation after speaking with Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) on Thursday, Chien said yesterday.

"Through our hard efforts to keep him in the post ... he said he would reconsider," Chien said.

The foreign minister confirmed on Thursday that Tai submitted his resignation to the ministry earlier this week.

Tai's move took the local press by surprise as it was made public soon after first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) returned from what officials described as a "successful" trip to Europe, which included a stop-over in the Vatican.

Chien denied media speculation that Tai's intention to resign was related to the first lady's trip to Europe.

"It's not the first time that Ambassador Tai has sought to resign. He has attempted to resign several times in the past. He simply said he's done his job and it's time for him to hand over his position to the younger generation," Chien said.

The 69-year-old ambassador was not available for comment yesterday when contacted by telephone.

Presidential Office spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) yesterday also denied that the Vatican or Tai had expressed any grievances over details of Wu's attendance at Pope John Paul II's Sunday Rosary at Castel Gandolfo, the pontiff's summer residence, earlier this week.

David Lin (林永樂), director-general of the ministry's Department of European Affairs who also accompanied Wu throughout her trip, said Tai's move took him by surprise.

"It was arranged by Tai and the Holy See for the first lady's delegation to be photographed with the pope. Ambassador Tai made a great achievement [in arranging Wu's trip], so we definitely want to try to keep him," Lin said.

Before becoming ambassador, Tai had been director of the KMT's Cultural Affairs Department and spokesperson and deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister hosted a swearing-in ceremony for several new appointees yesterday afternoon.

Shen Su-tsun (沈斯淳), director-general of the ministry's Department of West Asian Affairs, was sworn in as the country's top representative to the Czech Republic.

Lin Ching-lien (林錦蓮), a section chief at the ministry's Bureau of Consular Affairs, will become the chief of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Sydney and Ingrid Hsing (邢瀛輝), currently serving at Taiwan's embassy in Panama, was to take up the post as the chief of the Consulate-General of the Republic of China.

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