Sun, Nov 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Money to be given to new ally not yet set, MOFA says

CNA , TAIPEI

An official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that reports about Taiwan offering a grant of US$28 million to Vanuatu is an "imaginary" figure.

Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Kau (高英茂) made the remarks one day after a wire service report from Port-Vila, Vanuatu, quoted a spokesman for Vanuatuan Prime Minister Serge Vohor as saying that Taiwan will offer grant money of up to US$28 million to his country next year in return for Vanuatu's diplomatic recognition.

Vohor and Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Chen (陳唐山) jointly signed a communique on the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in Taipei Wednesday on behalf of their respective countries.

The South Pacific island nation became the 27th diplomatic ally of Taiwan. Kau noted that Taiwan does provide economic assistance to its allies and that Taiwan and Vanuatu have reached an understanding on such assistance, although the amount will be worked out later by the two governments.

Taiwan will have to assess the cooperation projects formally proposed by Vanuatu before it decides on the actual amount of such assistance, Kau said.

On the Vanuatuan spokes-man's remarks that there will be a NT$28 million grant, Kau said that this is an "imaginary" figure, reiterating that the amount has not yet been finalized.

He noted that Vohor had returned to his country and called a press conference to announce the establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

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