Wed, Aug 09, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Foreign ministry decides Chadian students can stay

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH DPA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that Chadian students who are currently studying in Taiwan under the ministry's sponsorship would be permitted to complete their programs.

Taiwan cut diplomatic ties with Chad last Saturday after learning that the African nation was on the verge of resuming relations with Beijing.

China and Chad restored ties on Sunday.

Yesterday's announcement marked the first time that the government has decided to continue to sponsor exchange students from a country with which it has severed diplomatic ties.

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had decided to allow the 17 students to finish their studies.

Huang said that Chadian Ambassador Hissein Brahim Taha told him that after the ministry's announcement that it had severed ties, the students had rushed to the embassy in Taipei to express concern that they might be expelled from Taiwan.

"The students are innocent. Taiwan will continue to provide scholarships to these students until they finish their studies," Huang quoted Su as saying.

The 17 students are participating in a five-year program which includes one year of Chinese-language study and four years of university education.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday demanded that Beijing apologize to Taipei over the Chad saga, implying that if it did not, Taiwan would be unlikely to grant a visitor's visa to Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office director Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

"Having insulted us diplomatically, China needs to send officials to explain this injustice to the Taiwanese public and show sincerity in improving ties. [Only then] might the council consider the application for Chen's visit," Wu said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has applied for Chen to attend a cross-strait agricultural forum in Taipei in October.

Wu said Taiwan would like to promote dialogue with China, but China's sabotaging of Taiwan's diplomatic endeavors had caused Taipei to doubt Beijing's sincerity.

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