Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Lu calls for Panamanian solidarity

CNA , PANAMA CITY

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on Wednesday called on the Panamanian government to say "no" to Beijing whenever China makes unreasonable requests to the country.

Solid and sustainable relations between nations are not based simply on interests, Lu said, noting that it is more important for two nations to maintain ties based on common principles and values.

Panama's maintaining of friendship with Taiwan is in line with the interests of the Panamanian people, Lu said, adding she believes that whoever is elected the next president of Panama in the future will value and further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Lu made the remarks prior to her departure for Paraguay after a three-day official visit in Panama, during which she met with Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso and had cordial and pleasant conversations. Lu said Moscoso told her that she had pledged support for Taiwan on her first day in office.

"I'll uphold this commitment until the last day of my term (Aug. 31, 2004)," she said.

According to the Panamanian Constitution, Moscoso cannot run for a second consecutive term. But Lu said Moscoso told her that she is convinced that her successor will continue to maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taipei.

Moscoso is scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Aug. 21 for a state visit. During her stay, she will sign a free-trade agreement with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to further boost trade and economic cooperation, according to Lu.

During her stay in Panama, Lu also met with her Panamanian counterpart, Second Vice President Dominador Kaiser Bazan. Bazan hosted a luncheon in honor of Lu and presented her with a medal in recognition of her contribution to promoting Taiwan's democratization and its relations with Panama.

The two jointly presided over a ceremony marking the completion of a Taiwan-financed face-lift of the building that houses Panama's Ministry of the Interior.

Bazan will also head a delegation to visit Taiwan next month, and Chen is scheduled to make an official visit to Panama in early November.

During a tour of the Taiwan-Panama Cultural Center in Panama City, Lu appealed to all members of the Taiwanese communities in Panama to throw their support behind Chen for a second term in office.

Lu and her 43-member entourage left Panama City at noon on Wednesday for Asuncion to attend the Paraguayan presidential inauguration on Aug. 15 on behalf of Chen. Lu will also deliver speeches at the Paraguayan parliament and at Asuncion University.

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