Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Flag flap saddens city-state

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

After protesters burned a Singapor-ean flag on Friday, Singapore's foreign affairs ministry called the action "intemperate," according to a brief statement posted on the ministry website late Friday night.

A ministry spokesman had commented that "Taiwan is an old friend. We are saddened by such intemperate actions" in response to reporters' inquiries about the incident. The website provided no further comment.

Taiwanese officials sought to downplay the incident yesterday, urging reporters "not to dwell on unhappy matters and to look forward" while pointing to possibilities for cooperation between Taiwan and Singapore.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also issued a statement after the demonstration, asking citizens to stay calm and act rationally. MOFA spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) called the incident "unexpected," saying that Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Chen (陳唐山) had not intended his recent remarks accusing Singapore of currying favor with China as an attack on Singapore and carried no malice.

"We've gone through various channels to express this to Singapore already," Lu said.

Singaporean officials on Tuesday had also described Chen's remarks as "intemperate."

Taiwan and Singapore have maintained friendly relations in the past but Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo's (楊榮文) comments to the UN General Assembly last week disappointed many Taiwanese.

The nation has often viewed the city-state as a mediator between Taiwan and China. The 1993 Koo-Wang talks between cross-strait representatives were held in Singapore.

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