Sat, Mar 20, 2004 - Page 4 News List

President Arroyo voices her concern for Chen, Lu

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH DPA

Philippine President Gloria Maca-pagal Arroyo yesterday expressed relief that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were out of danger after they were shot.

"I am sorry to hear about the shooting of Taiwan's leaders while campaigning in Tainan City," she said in a statement.

"I welcome the news that their injuries were not life-threatening and that they have been declared out of danger by attending medical practitioners," she added.

Arroyo said she hopes "that the political exercise in Taiwan will proceed in a safe and orderly manner."

Meanwhile, reflecting the general reaction of foreigners in Tai-wan to view the election, former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Nat Bellocchi expressed "shock" upon hearing of the attack.

"The general reaction is shock, because something like this is not supposed to happen in a place like Taiwan," Bellocchi said.

"But on the other hand, everyone has to be pretty proud of the fact that it's been taken seriously, but at the same time people are saying, `We have to go on with what we have to do, even the important elections the next day,'" Bellocchi told the Taipei Times. "That shows a degree of maturity that's very impressive."

Bellocchi said he did not think the incident will hurt Taiwan's image in the mind of the rest of the world.

It might, though, he said, have an impact on the election.

"It's likely to get a lot of sympathy, if nothing else. I think maybe people will pay more attention and say they will vote," he said.

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