Wed, Jul 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lu set for diplomatic trip to Paraguay

STANDING IN The vice president will represent Chen Shui-bian at the August inauguration ceremony of the country's new president, Nicanor Duarte Frutos

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will stand in for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of Paraguay next month. Lu will also meet with American politicians and overseas Taiwanese during visits to three US cities.

"The main purpose of the vice president's diplomatic trip is to visit two allies of Taiwan in Central and South America to enhance bilateral relationships," Presidential Office Deputy Secretary General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

The inauguration ceremony of Paraguay's new president is set for Aug. 15, and Lu will deliver President Chen's congratulations to the country's 46-year-old Nicanor Duarte Frutos, who was elected in April.

"She also expects to personally invite more foreign dignitaries to attend the Pacific Democratic Assembly in Taipei in late September," Wu said.

According to the Presidential Office, Lu will depart Taiwan on Aug. 7 and make a two-night stopover in Hawaii to meet Hawaiian State Governor Benjamin Cayetano and state congressmen.

"The vice president will invite these people to participate in the assembly, which is intended to gather together democratic countries from around the Asian and Pacific region," Wu said.

Lu announced in August her plan to convene the Pacific Democratic Assembly in preparation for the establishment of a pacific democratic union. According to Lu, Japan, the US, Indonesia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Panama and Costa Rica have already agreed to join.

Lu says she will recruit all 34 Pacific Rim countries to the union, which aims to strengthen exchanges and cooperations between its member countries.

Lu then will fly to Los Angeles for another two-night stopover where she will meet with overseas-Taiwanese groups.

"The vice president has many friends in the area and they have wanted to meet Lu for a long time," Wu said, adding that the overseas groups plan to hold a major program of events to show their support for President Chen and his candidacy for next year's presidential election.

Lu will then travel to Panama on Aug. 11 to meet her old friend, Panama President Mireya Moscoso.

"Now that Taiwan and Panama are negotiating the signing of a free-trade agreement, we believe Lu's visit can enhance cooperation between the two countries," Wu said.

The vice president's delegation will arrive in Paraguay on Aug. 13 to attend a series of celebrations.

The last leg of Lu's trip will take her to Seattle, where she hopes to visit the headquarters of Boeing and Microsoft and meet the heads of the two companies.

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