Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Seoul rejects Chen's APEC request

AFP , SEOUL

South Korea yesterday rejected a request from President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to take part in the APEC summit in November.

Kim Jong-hoon, South Korea's APEC ambassador, said Chen had several times expressed his hope of joining the meeting.

"It's difficult for him to take part [in the forum] unless an agreement between all APEC member states is forthcoming," Kim was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

South Korea, which cut ties with Taipei to switch its diplomatic relations to Beijing in 1992, will host the summit in its southern port city of Busan on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.

Kim noted that since 1993, a Taiwanese presidential envoy had been taking part in APEC summits to represent the nation.

Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), a co-winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has represented Chen at the annual leadership meeting for the past three years.

The Presidential Office yesterday was reluctant to respond to Kim's announcement.

Presidential Office deputy secretary-general James Huang (黃志芳) said Chen had already reiterated his willingness to attend the summit and hoped the South Korean government has the political wisdom to help Taiwan.

When asked by local media about a possible candidate to act as Chen's envoy at the APEC summit, Huang did not give a clear answer.

"However, in order to show Taiwan's respect to the summit, the envoy has to be a high-ranking minister of the Cabinet," Huang said.

additional reporting by Chiu Yu-tzu

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