Fri, Jan 13, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Envoy clarifies US response to speech

NEW YEAR ADDRESS The nation's envoy to the US described Washington's review of the speech, and rebutted a report that the US had requested changes

STAFF WRITER

The nation's representative to the US David Lee (李大維)on Wednesday rebutted a media report which said that Washington had asked President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to change the draft of his New Year Speech three times.

Lee made the remarks following a similar clarification by Secretary-General of the National Security Council Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) earlier this week.

A report in Tuesday's Chinese-language newspaper the United Daily News quoted unnamed sources as saying that Washington was displeased with Chen for delivering the address without changing parts of the draft it had considered unsatisfactory.

The report said Washington returned the draft to the Presidential Office three times, each time asking for revisions, particularly in relation to constitutional amendments that Chen said would be completed before 2008.

Lee held a press conference yesterday in a bid to clear up the communication process between Taiwan and the US regarding the speech.

"The report that the US returned the draft was going too far. The Republic of China is a sovereign country. How could it be possible to be treated that way?" Lee said on Wednesday at a press conference in Washington

"Some parts of the report were far from the facts," he added.

Lee said the US had voiced opinions about the draft during the communication process, but he would term them "concerns" rather than "protests."

"The US expressed its concerns in a way that expressed manners and equality, and the results of the communication were acceptable to both sides," Lee said.

The US first saw the draft on the morning of Dec. 30, the local time in Washington, about 30 hours before Chen was scheduled to deliver the speech, Lee said.

"Taipei and Washington communicated back and forth on the draft during the 30 hours, and I didn't see any difficulties in understanding each other," he said."Due to the short duration [of time], the representative office held frequent conversations with both sides, and the US expressed thanks for the office's efficient work."

Given that the two countries have close relations and common interests, the government notifies the US before announcing important policies and the US has been responding to the government within a very short time, he added.

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