Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 3 News List

UAE ties could open more doors

DIPLOMACY The foreign affairs ministry said that Taiwan's relations with the UAE were important as the `the whole Arab world was watching' developments


Sound relations between Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will encourage the rest of the Arab world to better understand Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday.

Speaking at a regular news briefing, Lu thanked the UAE for its approval of a one-day stopover by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in its capital, Abu Dhabi, last weekend en route back to Taiwan after concluding a diplomatic tour of various allies in Central America and the Caribbean.

Lu also expressed appreciation for the treatment the UAE accorded to Chen in his capacity as a head of state and hailed the country's courage ing shrugging off fierce protests from Beijing, stressing that the government appreciates very much the UAE's cooperation and assistance.

"President Chen was treated courteously during the Abu Dhabi stopover. It was understandable how much pressure Beijing must have exerted on the UAE over the matter," Lu said.

China reacted unfavorably to Chen's stopover, saying it would have a negative impact on its ties with Abu Dhabi.

"Compared with many other countries, the UAE has fared well in coping with Beijing's pressure," Lu said.

Saying that Taiwan-UAE interactions will help other Arabian countries gain a better understanding of Taiwan, Lu added that the UAE's response was crucial because "the whole Arabian world is watching [the development] and may follow suit."

The two countries are set to step up bilateral trade and investment, and Taiwan plans to open a representative office in Abu Dhabi, Lu said.

Lu added that Taiwan's economic clout and success in turning itself into a rich country was the main reason the UAE wants to forge closer ties.

During Chen's visit, Taiwan and the UAE agreed to form a strategic partnership to boost military and trade ties, despite the lack of diplomatic relations, according to the Chinese-language daily the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times' sister newspaper yesterday.

"The UAE is interested in Taiwan's high-tech and monetary system. UAE leaders said that although the country has rich oil deposits, oil can run dry one day, so they hope to use Taiwan's experience to develop their own industries," the paper said.

Meanwhile, a UAE state-owned firm said yesterday it was awaiting Taipei's decision on an offer to buy a 20 percent stake in government-owned Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) for more than US$5 billion, despite objections from China.

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) said it was seeking to invest in CPC.

"The proposal has now been presented to the Taiwanese parliament, awaiting its approval," the company said.

IPIC said the offer of US$5 billion for the 20 percent stake, officially made in May, would remain on the table until next month.

CPC is fully owned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which plans to sell 45 percent of the oil giant to institutional investors as part of privatization plans.

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