Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Society
Ma's staff in car accident

Two of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) assistants yesterday were involved in a car accident as the group, led by Ma, returned from Nantou yesterday afternoon. Local TV news reported that the two assistants were able to take themselves to the hospital and there were no major injuries. The accident took place when the car slid off the rain-soaked Chongtan Road yesterday afternoon.

■ Diplomacy

China responds to Nauru

The tiny South Pacific island nation of Nauru has broken faith with Beijing by switching its diplomatic allegiance to Taipei, China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday, but added that the move was not worth further comment. Nauru, a 21km2 island of 12,800 people, has been involved in a diplomatic tug of war between the two rivals, swapping recognition to Beijing just three years ago but then closing its embassy in China in 2003, citing funding problems. "The Nauru government has broken its faith with China and its behavior is not worth commenting on," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. The addition of Nauru brings Taiwan's band of allies to 26, most of them small, impoverished countries in Latin America, Africa or the Pacific. With frequent changes of government, these allies are liable to switch often between Taiwan and China.

■ Society

First lady in US for ceremony

First lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) attended her son's graduation in the US Saturday and said she was pleased and proud to see her son receive a master's degree in law from the University of California at Berkeley. The first lady made the remarks on her way to participate in a luncheon hosted by the president of the university in her honor after attending Chen Chih-chun's (陳致中) commencement ceremony. Both Wu and her son's girlfriend witnessed the graduation ceremony. Wu was protected by US security agents during the ceremony and a senior staff member of the university also escorted her son to the ceremony. Although the university administration wanted to protect Chen's privacy, his appearance still grabbed the attention of Taiwanese reporters. Chen, who is scheduled to get married in June, has not yet chosen the university he will attend to pursue a doctorate.

■ Military

Lee to visit the Pentagon

Taiwan's Commander-in-Chief Lee Tian-yu (李天羽) will visit the US on May 20 to discuss arms purchase and military cooperation, a local Chinese-language newspaper said yesterday. Lee will visit the Pentagon on May 23. He will meet with Gordon England, the new deputy secretary of defense, and Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of General Staff, to discuss arms purchases, military cooperation and regional security, the paper said. The US is pushing Taiwan to buy modern arms to boost its defenses against China. The government approves of the arms purchase, but the legislature has been blocking the budget, saying the price is too high and delivery too late. The NT$610 billion (US$18.2 billion) package, approved by US President George W. Bush in 2001, includes 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft, eight diesel submarines and a PAC-3 anti-missile system. The Ministry of National Defense is eager to see the arms purchase budget approved in the legislature, but many lawmakers oppose the deal, saying its main purpose seems to be to improve ties with the US rather than bolster Taiwan's defenses, because the delivery will be too late.

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