President Chen Shui-bian (
The chartered plane carrying Chen will make refueling stops in Hawaii en route to Panama, where Chen will attend the inauguration ceremony of Panamanian president Martin Torrijos.
From Panama, Chen will fly to Belize for a less-than-24-hour visit, and then make a brief stop in Seattle before returning home early morning on Sept. 5.
Chen shortened his Central American tour by a day in order to return to oversee the nation's relief work in northern and central Taiwan, which was devastated by Typhoon Aere.
Because of the abbreviated schedule, he will not stay over in Hawaii or Seattle as originally planned.
Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General James Huang (黃志芳) said that overall, "traveling on the plane will account for approximately 43 hours in the president's diplomatic trip, with a total amount of about 83 hours for refueling stops in Hawaii, Seattle and visiting two of the nation's diplomatic allies in Central America."
Chen is expected to rub shoulders with other foreign dignitaries, including US Secretary of State Colin Powell, while attending the inauguration in Panama.
During a brief stop in Hawaii, Chen will visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, which commemorates the sacrifice made by the 2,390 US soldiers who lost their lives in the December 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack -- half of them from the battleship USS Arizona.
In Hawaii and Seattle, Chen will attend banquets to be held in his honor by expatriates, and will meet with US politicians.
Members of his entourage include Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (
Taoyuan County Commissioner and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member Chu Li-lun (