Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu says El Salvador, Taiwan share values


Vice President Annette Lu holds a baby during a visit to a Tzu Chi community in Chanmico City on the outskirts of San Salvador on Monday.


Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said Monday she will try to persuade major Taiwanese business groups to cooperate with El Salvador in building new cities and rural townships in the Central American country.

Lu, who arrived in San Salvador Sunday evening to attend Salvadoran president-elect Elias Antonio Saca's inauguration yesterday, made the remarks while attending a cocktail reception hosted by Ambassador to El Salvador Hou Ping-fu (侯平福) in her honor.

Speaking on the occasion, Lu said Taiwan and El Salvador have many things in common.

"We have shared values in freedom, democracy and human rights. Both of our countries were hit by devastating earthquakes several years ago. In 2000, the people of Taiwan elected its youngest-ever president, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and its first-ever female vice president. Earlier this year, Salvadoran voters elected a 39-year-old as their new president, and Ana Vilma Albanez de Escobar, as their first-ever female vice president," Lu said.

She said she believed El Salvador will enter a new stage of accelerated national development under the leadership of Saca.

Lu told well-wishers that during a visit to a Tzu Chi community in Chanmico City on the outskirts of San Salvador earlier in the day, an idea occurred to her.

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Taiwan's largest charity, cooperated with the Chanmico City Government and the Sacacoyo City Government in building a special residential community in the two cities in 2001 after two strong earthquakes wreaked havoc in El Salvador.

The Tzu Chi foundation's US branch spent US$6.5 million on building the two communities to accommodate displaced earthquake refugees. In addition, the Tzu Chi Foundation has continued offering free medical services, vocational training and basic computer education programs in the areas to help improve their residents' living conditions.

Inspired by Tzu Chi's success story, Lu said she plans to encourage Taiwan's elite business groups and agricultural experts to cooperate with Salvadoran authorities in building new cities or townships in the vicinity of San Salvador, El Salvador's capital, to help boost the Taiwanese diplomatic ally's economic development.

Many Salvadoran government officials and celebrities, including the wife of outgoing Salvadoran President Francisco Guillermo Flores Perez, Salvadoran Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Calix and National Assembly Speaker Ciro Cruz Zepeda.

Later in the day, Lu delivered a speech on science, technology and life at El Salvador's National Science and Technology University. Members from El Salvador's various social stratums turned out to listen to Lu's speech.

Lu told the audience that Taiwan has come a long way in transforming itself from authoritarian rule to a full democracy.

Over the past five decades, Lu said, Taiwan has also scored outstanding achievements in economic development. Today, she said, Taiwan is the world's 15th largest economy, with per capita national income of US$15,000 and the world's third-largest foreign exchange reserves. Taiwan ranks among the world's three largest producers of 44 kinds of high-tech products and is the world's No. 1 manufacturer of 17 kinds of information-technology products, Lu said.

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