Sat, Sep 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan devises new aid plan for Central America


President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) revelation of a new project for co-prosperity with Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America is aimed at assisting Taiwan businessmen to invest in the region and cementing diplomatic relations, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.

MOFA spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) made the remarks after the president announced the project in Guatemala on the first leg of a 12-day, five-nation diplomatic tour of Central America and the Caribbean.

The project, which will call for an outlay of US$250 million per year to help the infrastructure of the diplomatic allies, will be formally announced when a summit meeting between the president and his counterparts from Taiwan's allies in Central America and the Caribbean opens in Nicaragua Monday.

Lu said the project was hammered out among government agencies, including the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council for Economic Planning and Development, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission and the National Security Council and that Vice Premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) will serve as convener of the project.

Lu said the money will come from the International Cooperation and Development Fund under the MOFA (more than NT$5 billion) and the Executive Yuan Development Fund (around NT$2.5 billion).

Lu said that the new project will be different from the past practice of sending technical missions or subsidizing private manufacturers investing in the region.

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