President Chen Shui-bian (
During a meeting at the Presidential Office with Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who will head the delegation, and other delegates to the APEC ministerial meetings, Chen said he wants them to take every opportunity, private or public, to make known Taiwan's sincerity in bolstering cooperation among all APEC economies and its concrete plans toward that goal.
The delegates should actively seize every opportunity to talk with their counterparts, particularly those from the US, China, Japan and Russia, Chen said.
Lee has been assigned by Chen to attend the APEC meeting in Santiago, Chile, on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 on his behalf.
Chen said he is confident that Lee would achieve these tasks to win international support and respect for Taiwan again this year. Lee also attended the APEC informal leadership meeting on Chen's behalf last year and in 2002.
Noting that APEC is one of the few international groupings that has both Taiwan and China as members, Chen said that although he cannot attend the leadership meeting in person due to Beijing's obstruction, this does not mean that Taiwan's resolve in contributing to APEC efforts as a member would be lessened.
Chen said that Taiwan is not only resolved to support the implementation of various APEC projects and plans, it also keenly expects that other APEC economies will throw their support behind the projects that Taiwan plans to field this year. These include an avian flu prevention project and regional cooperation in vaccine research and development.
He added that Taiwan cannot afford to restrict itself under the current difficult circumstances that it faces due to Beijing's ubiquitous diplomatic suppression and the international community's reluctance to offend Beijing.
"We must take the initiative in creating opportunities for ourselves and make as many friends as possible in the international community, particularly in important dialogue platforms such as APEC," Chen said.
As security will be one of the main themes to be discussed at this year's APEC conferences, Chen said, the delegation should express the country's desire to play an active role in cultivating a safe living environment and explain its past contributions in this regard.
Chen received a formal invitation from Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar last month to attend the APEC meeting but decided to let Lee attend on his behalf to spare the host country any unnecessary trouble.