Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

David Lee plans to attend Democratic Party's convention

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

David Lee (李大維), the country's new top representative to the US, along with a cross-party delegation, plans to attend the Democratic National Convention slated to take place in Boston from July 26 to July 29, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said yesterday.

Lee, the new head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington (TECRO), is scheduled to arrive at Washington on July 23. The former top representative to Brussels and the EU was to depart for Brussels last night to attend several farewell parties to be held for him.

Lee's predecessor, Chen Chien-jen (程建人), will leave his TECRO post next Tuesday, according to the ministry. Former foreign minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) is expected to take over Lee's post in Brussels at the end of next month.

During a luncheon with reporters, ministry officials said Lee will also attend the Republican National Convention, scheduled to be held in New York City from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

Observers have said that the US presidential election in November will have a decisive impact on relations among Taiwan, China and the US.

The Republican Party traditionally has displayed a sympathetic attitude toward Taiwan, whereas the Democratic Party, during former US president Bill Clinton's tenure, viewed China more as a strategic partner than as a rival, analysts said.

The Democratic National Convention will confirm the nomination of the party's presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, and his running mate, Senator John Edwards.

The convention will be a crucial occasion for Lee to learn more about both senators, particularly Edwards. Lee said he has not met Edwards, a less seasoned politician than Kerry, who has been in the Senate for 19 years.

The Democratic Progressive Party will send Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and former Cabinet Secretary-general Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) to the convention.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Secretary-general Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇) and Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) and representatives of the People First Party will also attend the event, ministry officials said.

During his brief visit home, Lee met President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山), Director of the American Institute in Taiwan Douglas Paal and former chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Meanwhile, Joanne Chang (裘兆琳), Lee's deputy, is scheduled to begin a new job in Washington next month after attending the Democratic Pacific Assembly, organized by Lu.

Chang will be in charge of TECRO's communications with the US Congress, ministry officials said.

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