Tue, Oct 14, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Premier says Chien not to blame over latest loss of an ally

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu presents a national flag to the leader of the Taiwan Children's Folkgames Troupe, which is scheduled to tour Honduras, Panama, the Dominican Republic and the US later this month as part of the delegation accompanying President Chen Shui-bian on his visit to three Central American allies.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) offered his resignation Sunday over Liberia's decision to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing but decided to stay on, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.

"I told him not to blame himself for what had happened because it was not the ministry's fault nor his," Yu said after attending the opening ceremony of the preparatory office of the proposed national communications commission.

"I also told him to forget about quitting again because there are many important things for him to take care of," Yu said.

Yu said that he was well aware of why Liberia switched ties to Beijing and how hard the ministry had worked to retain the relationship.

"It's not easy to maintain diplomatic ties with a country embroiled in a year-long civil war," Yu said. "It's even more difficult to maintain relations with a country when Beijing intimidates and bribes the transitional government to flip-flop over diplomatic ties."

Meanwhile Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said that she will recommend President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) call a meeting to review diplomatic strategies.

"Facing a new era and new challenges on the diplomatic front, we have to come up with new strategies and new thinking," she said after presenting a national flag to a performing group that will accompany Chen on a tour of three Central American allies this month.

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