US policy unchanged
The US government's policy toward China and Taiwan remains unchanged regardless of changes in the US administration and possible shifts of power in the legislature in Taiwan, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Monday. McClellan made the remarks at a routine news briefing while answering a question on reports suggesting that if the pan-green camp won a majority in legislature following the Dec. 11 elections, it could bring the nation closer to a military confrontation with China. McClellan also said that changes in the US admini-stration after President George W. Bush's re-election will be done smoothly and will not impact any US policies.
■ Foreign Aid
Orphanage opened in Africa
An orphanage built with support from Taiwanese churches has been completed and opened earlier this month in Burkina Faso, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday. A 20-member delegation formed by the Glory Star Church in Taipei and the Bread of Life Christian Church in Pingtung went to Burkina Faso on Nov. 3 to attend the opening ceremony and established sisterhood ties with churches in the African nation, according to director of the ministry's Department of African Affairs Pei-chi (張北齊). Lien Chia-en (連加恩), who is a medical school graduate and a member of the Glory Star Church, started a fundraising campaign in Taiwan for the construction of the orphanage a few years ago when he was serving in Taiwan's medical mission in Burkina Faso as an alternative to military service. On finishing his service last year, he was hired to become a staff physician at the mission and continued to work on the orphanage project.
Paraguay project under way
Houses being built for low-income families in Paraguay with funds donated by Taiwan are almost 50 percent complete, the Paraguay National Housing Committee said yesterday. A committee official said the program was now in its second phase, with 557 houses completed. The construction of an additional 640 units started earlier this month. Each unit is estimated to be worth about US$4,423, or just under the annual income of an average citizen of Paraguay, the official said. Taiwan's ambassador to Paraguay Yan Ping-fan (顏秉璠) donated US$3 million on behalf of the government last month to be used for housing projects. Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos said everyone in Paraguay hopes to own a home and thanked the government for the donation.
Ivory Coast worries ministry
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed its missions overseas to establish an urgent communication network with 25 Taiwanese residing in the Ivory Coast because of the conflicts that have broken out there. Chang Pei-chi (張北齊), director of the Department of African Affairs, noted that Western countries began evacuating their nationals last Thursday. He said the ministry wants to establish a communication network to execute an evacuation if the situation deteriorates further. Chang said the representative office in the Ivory Coast has secured the US embassy's promise to help evacuate the Taiwanese should such need arise. He said the 25 Taiwanese are not willing to leave yet because they want to safeguard their investments. He also urged people to refrain from traveling to the Ivory Coast for the time being.