Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Solomon Islands minister's grandfather mourned

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the funeral of Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Laurie Chan Hok Si's (陳學仕) grandfather at Lungtan, Taoyuan County last Saturday, according to Gary Lin (林松煥), director general of the ministry's Department of East Asia and Pacific Affairs yesterday.

Chan's maternal grandfather Lu Szu-chang (盧賜章) died on March 13 at age 92. Lu came from Guangdong Province and served as a secretary to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

After the Chinese civil war, he spent most of his life in Hong Kong before moving to Taiwan with one of his daughters around 10 years ago, according to the ministry.

Chan was born in the Solomon Islands shortly after her parents emigrated there.

Lin, who conveyed condolences to Lu's family on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Chen (陳唐山) at the funeral, said at a press conference that Chen had wanted to attend the funeral himself but could not make it because he had a scheduled foreign visit.

Chan's mother was also at the funeral.

While Lu's residence in Taiwan had contributed to strengthening diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands, a group of Solomon Islands opposition lawmakers have recently visited China, according to Lin.

Noting that the Solomon Islands is a democratic country, Lin said it is natural it listens to "various kinds of voices."

The opposition lawmakers have illusions about China and seek to develop a relationship with it, but their visit to Beijing would not affect the Solomon Islands' ties with Taiwan, Lin said.

Lin also announced that the parliamentary speaker of the Pacific archipelago nation of Kiribati will lead a delegation on an official visit to Taipei.

Pacific connections:

* Foreign ministry officials attended the Taoyuan County funeral of Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Laurie Chan Hok Si's grandfather, Lu Szu-chang, last Saturday.

* An official delegation from Kiribati's parliament will arrive in Taipei on Saturday.

* A group of finance officials from the Marshall Islands will visit Taiwan from April 6 to 10.

The delegation is scheduled to arrive on Saturday. Members of the delegation include lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties.

"This shows both the ruling and opposition parties in Kiribati are supportive of the country's relations with Taiwan," Lin said.

The delegation is slated to meet with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) during their time in Taiwan.

Kiribati established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in November 2003.

Meanwhile, the Marshall Islands Finance Minister Brenson Wase will lead a group of finance officials, including the country's Banking Commissioner Alfred Alfred Jr, on a visit to Taiwan from April 6 to 10.

The delegation will visit a number of government agencies, including the International Cooperation and Development Fund, Lin said.

Regarding President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) plan to visit Taiwan's allies in the South Pacific in May, Lin said the Presidential Office is still arranging the trip and that the itinerary "has not been finalized."

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