Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

President's tour to Pacific allies on track: MOFA

ON SCHEDULE The ministry responded to reports that said the trip was in doubt because allies had succumbed to pressure from Beijing

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that the country's diplomatic allies in the South Pacific had not caved in to pressure from China and that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would visit two of the allies in the region from Sunday to Sept. 6, as scheduled.

Ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) made the remarks while speaking at a news conference held by the Government Information Office regarding the publicity campaign for Taiwan's bid to join the UN.

Chad repeat

Lu was responding to reports that quoted diplomatic sources as saying that with China actively soliciting the nation's allies in the South Pacific, the ministry had been watching the situation closely to avoid a repetition of the "Chad incident."

The incident referring to the cutting of diplomatic ties with Chad on the eve of Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) scheduled visit early this month.

The decision to cut relations came after the government learned that the African country was about to establish diplomatic ties with China.

Lu said that the nation's six allies in the South Pacific had not caved in as the report said, and that the president would depart as scheduled on Sunday for Palau for a summit with the heads of state of the allies the next day.

The president will then proceed to Nauru on Sept. 5 before returning to Taiwan on Sept. 6, he said.

Diplomatic battle

However, Lu also urged the public not to expect goodwill from China, especially in the diplomatic arena.

China has always been relentless in scuttling Taiwan's relations with its allies, Lu said.

The ministry would do everything possible to try to cement the nation's ties with its allies, Lu added.

Asked by reporters which of the nation's South Pacific diplomatic allies Beijing had been targeting, Lu said that China's obstruction efforts had not been confined to the South Pacific.

Beijing has directed its campaign at all of the country's 24 allies, Lu said.

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