Sun, Apr 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Outgoing EU envoy Chen Chien-jen happy to be retiring

MUSIC MAN The nation's representative to the EU said he was looking forward to retiring at last and planned to release a CD


Outgoing representative to the EU Chen Chien-jen (程建人) said on Friday he felt no regret that he would soon retire from his 40-year diplomatic career, a move that has been postponed for several years.

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) confirmed a few days ago that Chen would retire from his post soon, but did not disclose the name of his successor.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) has been tipped as Chen's replacement, according to media reports.

Delayed retirement

Chen told the Central News Agency that he had planned to retire in 2000 and again in 2004, but opted to prioritize national interests over his personal plans after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) asked him to stay on.

"There was a feeling of regret in my heart that I could not live a carefree life," Chen Chien-jen said.

"This feeling will be made up for now that my public service career will soon come to an end," he said.

The diplomat, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party(KMT) who previously served as minister of foreign affairs when the party was in power, was appointed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government as the country's representative to the US in 2000.

He had intended to retire when he stepped down from that post in 2004, but later accepted the appointment of EU representative.

On the most unforgettable event of his foreign service career, Chen Chien-jen said it would be hard for him to forget the process of bilateral talks with the US government after the severance of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the US.

However, being able to participate in the establishment of diplomatic relations with Nicaragua and Palau were pleasant experiences, he went on.

WHO participation

As for the government's bids to participate in the WHO, Chen noted that the idea was first put forward 10 years ago when he was vice minister of foreign affairs.

With Taiwan's efforts over the past 10 years and the importance of including Taiwan in the WHO having been highlighted by the outbreaks of SARS and bird flu, there should be progress this year in promoting the bid, Chen Chien-jen predicted.

Chen said he was thinking about writing his memoirs and releasing a CD that he recorded in the 1990s of him singing Mandarin, Taiwanese and English songs.

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