Tue, Jul 06, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Yu Shyi-kun set to embark on 10-day diplomatic tour

AMERICAN ALLIES The nation's premier will visit the Dominican Republic next month, and his trip could include stops in the US and other nations

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun has planned a 10-day trip on Aug. 12 to visit the Dominican Republic, the Taipei Times learned yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the visit will allow the premier to attend the inauguration of president-elect Leonel Fernandez on Aug. 16. The ministry is also making arrangements for transit stops in the US and a possible visit to neighboring countries in Central and South America.

It is believed that Yu will visit New York City because his eldest son, Yu Bing-tao (游秉陶), is set to begin his first semester at Columbia University, pursuing a master's degree in international relations. The young Yu left for New York last month after obtaining his bachelor's degree in horticulture and political science from National Taiwan University.

The upcoming trip will be Yu Shyi-kun's second overseas visit to the region during his premiership, as he and a 60-member delegation visited four of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America in August 2002. They had a two-day stopover in New York en route to Haiti and a one-day stopover in Los Angeles on the return trip.

Central America is one of the nation's important regions diplomatically. Of the 33 countries in Latin America, 14 have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Billed as culture-oriented, the 11-day journey two years ago marked the premier's first official visit abroad since he took office on Feb. 1, 2002.

The trip was part of the nation's effort to consolidate relationships with its diplomatic allies following the defection of Nauru.

The nation had broken its 22-year-old diplomatic ties with Nauru one month earlier after the tiny Pacific island state established ties with China.

China offered US$60 million in financial aid and US$77 million in debt relief to the country, which has a population of just under 12,000.

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