The Presidential Office's chief of staff on Tuesday dismissed reports that his upcoming trip to the US is for the purpose of trying to repair damaged relations in the wake of the transit row between the two countries.
Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) denied reports that he has been instructed to travel to Washington next week on a "fence-mending trip" after he returns to Taiwan on Friday. He has been accompanying President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on his eight-day visit to Paraguay and Costa Rica.
According to the reports, President Chen believes that Taiwan-US relations should return to normal following the recent row as he thinks that this is in the best interests of both countries, given the fact that the US is a major ally of Taiwan and guarantees the nation's safety.
Mark Chen said he would depart for the US on Saturday to receive an honorary doctoral degree from his alma mater, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
He obtained a doctoral degree in geophysics from the university in 1972.