Second Chen summit mulled
The Presidential Office doesn't rule out the possibility of arranging a second meeting between President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), an official said yesterday. The Presidential Office staff member was responding to media reports that Chen will meet with Soong again soon. The official said no plans for a second meeting are in the works at the moment. However, if it becomes necessary or if an opportunity presents itself, the office doesn't rule out the possibility of holding such a meeting in the future, he said. Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun called PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) on Monday, the official said, but the phone conversation didn't touch on the topic of a second meeting. On Monday Soong urged Chen to faithfully implement the 10-point consensus reached at their Feb. 24 meeting to avert the possibility of China using "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan as mandated by the Beijing's new "anti-secession" law. "In response to Soong's public appeal, Yu called Chin to affirm Chen's commitment to substantiating the 10 conclusions ... Yu also exchanged views on the `anti-secession' law's impact on Taiwan's domestic political situation, the official said.
■ National defense
Academy mulls fewer trips
The navy is considering adjusting its annual international voyage for Naval Academy graduates since the school has fewer graduates each year. According to high-ranking navy officials, for budgetary reasons the trip may be offered every other year or juniors and seniors may make one joint voyage instead of the seniors only. Officials said not only is the school attracting fewer freshmen, but more students were washing out of the academy. As a result, the fleet is experiencing a severe manpower shortage. There were 850 crew members on this year's trip, which began on Feb. 24 with a sail around Taiwan before heading overseas on March 5. This year's 101-day voyage will be the first time that navy ships will have crossed the three major oceans of the world.
Typhoon to miss Taiwan
The year's second typhoon has formed in the Pacific but poses no threat to Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Typhoon Roke is well southwest of the Philippines and moving westward at 32kph. Roke has a radius of 100km. Roke is expected to pass through the central Philippines.
Group to go to ADB meeting
The government will send a delegation to Manila on Friday to attend the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) meeting to assess the progress in rehabilitating areas in South Asia devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunamis, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Chie Wen-chi (介文汲), deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of International Organization, made the announcement at a news conference. He said the delegation will be headed by Representative to the Philippines Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興). The ADB has set up a US$600 million trust fund for aid to tsunami-affected Asian countries, Chie said, adding that the Manila meeting will discuss ways to offer more help. In addition to ADB member states, the tsunami-affected countries and international organizations such as the UN and the World Health Organization, as well as major non-governmental organizations, have been invited to take part in the meeting, officials said.