Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Tsai cited as possible TECRO head

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party's Mainstream Faction legislators yesterday smear cake icing on Legislator Mark Chen, center, the newly appointed minister of foreign affairs, at a farewell party held to celebrate his new position.

PHOTO: YEH CHI-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山), the newly-appointed minister of foreign affairs, said yesterday that US officials have a "good impression" of Mainland Affairs Council Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) when talking about likely candidates to be the nation's next top representative to the US.

"The top representative will have a great impact on Taiwan-US relations. The person must be one who is able to reach consensus with American officials," he said.

The DPP's Mainstream Faction, a loose alliance of the Formosa Faction and the Welfare Nation Faction, threw a farewell party yesterday to mark Chen's departure from the Legislative Yuan and celebrate his new posting.

Chen, blacklisted from Taiwan for his pro-independence activities two decades ago, recalled his life in exile during a moment at the party.

He also vowed to work hard on Taiwan's bid to enter the World Health Organization and the UN.

He talked reservedly about who might succeed Chen Chien-jen (程建人) at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington.

"I have not formally taken over the ministry yet, and am still a legislator. It is inconvenient to express my views [on who may be the top representative]," Mark Chen said.

He had said in Tainan late Sunday night that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has asked Tsai whether she was willing to take the Washington job, "but Tsai's intention is still unclear."

Tsai was the president's "first choice" to take over the Washington job, according to Mark Chen.

One of Tsai's subordinates said late Sunday night Tsai has no intention of staying on in any government position after the presidential inauguration on May 20.

Asked by reporters whether she would go to Washington, Tsai responded icily: "I am still in possession of my senses."

Last year, Tsai undertook several trips to Washington in an effort to cool down strained Taiwan-US ties by explaining President Chen's policies, including his proposals to hold a referendum and write new constitution.

In related news, Mark Chen also said yesterday that he hoped Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) would stay on in his position. Kau should customarily resign along with his boss, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新).

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