Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

US confirms president's Guam stopover


The US government has officially approved President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) request to make a transit stop in Guam on his way back to Taiwan from Nauru on Wednesday, the US Department of State said on Friday.

The department said in a statement that it is handling Chen's transit based on the criteria of the president's safety, comfort and convenience, while respecting the dignity of the president.

The president will leave on his visit to the South Pacific today. His first stop will be Palau, where he will attend a leadership summit between Taiwan and its diplomatic allies in the South Pacific, before heading on Tuesday to Nauru, where he will address parliament.

The Presidential Office has announced that Chen will fly on "Air Force One" on the first leg of his visit to Palau, but that he and his entourage will then fly on charter China Airlines passenger jets from Palau to Nauru and back to Taipei through Guam due to the small size of Nauru's airport.

The delegation will make a four-to-five-hour stopover in Guam.

The US Department of State said that American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt will greet Chen in Guam.

The US government understands that Chen's transit stop will be of a private, unofficial nature and that there will not be any public or media activities during his stop in Guam, the department said.

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) had said that Chen was scheduled to meet with officials and expatriates in Guam but will not make a public speech nor hold a press conference, following the US government's transit code of conduct.

President's itinerary

*Today: Taiwan to Palau for summit of Taiwan's Pacific island allies.

* Tuesday: Palau to Nauru for parliamentary address.

* Thursday: Nauru to Taipei, with stopover in Guam.

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