Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Armitage has nothing to say on Keyser charges

STAFF WRITER

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage yesterday refused to answer questions about whether investigations into former US State official Donald Keyser's involvement with Taiwanese intelligence officers would have an impact on diplomatic ties with Taiwan and China.

When asked whether the case would affect current ties between Taiwan and the US, Armitage told reporters that he would not discuss the case, saying it was a matter for the courts to handle.

Keyser, former deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is accused of concealing a trip to Taiwan and suspected of passing US government documents to Taiwanese security personnel.

In response to media inquiries regarding whether Armitage had met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐三) during Chen's stay in the Baltimore area beginning last Wednesday, Armitage said that the two had not met. Armitage made the remarks after a Congressional hearing session on Friday.

Chen had made a rushed departure for the US and Grenada ahead of schedule late last Friday amid speculations that his trip had been rescheduled in conjunction with the Keyser case which broke just one day before Chen departed. The ministry has denied that the trip had anything to do with the Keyser case.

Chen's trip to the US was primarily to meet with Taiwanese diplomats and to host a routine foreign ministry conference on North American affairs in Baltimore. Chen had also visited diplomatic ally Grenada to see damage wrought by Hurricane Ivan.

Armitage also responded to questions regarding the demonstrations against arms purchases conducted in Taipei yesterday.

"The people of Taiwan, as a democracy, have a right to express themselves and express their views, so their government will understand clearly, and then the government will be able to make informed decisions as is best for their citizens," Armitage said.

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