Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan denies US report of `rift' with overseas offices

FULLY TRUSTED The Presidential Office rushed to dispel the notion that trust between Taipei and its representative offices worldwide had dwindled

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has always fully trusted the nation's two most recent representatives to the US, Presidential Office spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said yesterday.

Lee was responding to a US congressional research report which claimed that the status of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) as Taiwan's full representative to the US had eroded following Chen's coming to power in 2000.

The report based this claim on allegations that the Democratic Progressive Party administration suspected that several chief rep-resentatives appointed since 2000 had allegiances to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

"The comments are not factual," Lee said, adding that the report was a paper compiled by a US congressional research unit that did not reflect the opinions of the US State Department.

According to Lee, many communication channels have been established between Taiwan and the US, and all of them have functioned smoothly and effectively.

"There have never been issues of mistrust vis-a-vis our overseas representative offices or diplomatic staff, " Lee said.

Lee added that the president has fully trusted the country's present representative to the US, David Ta-wei Lee (李大維) and his predecessor, Chen Chien-jen (程建人).

Given the country's difficult diplomatic situation, Lee said that all diplomatic personnel deserve recognition.

The report, released last Tues-day, by the US Congressional Research Service, was authored by Kerry Dumbaugh, a scholar familiar with Taiwanese affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said US congressional reports are often written by academics and may not necessarily reflect the views or stances of Congress.

Stressing that TECRO is Taiwan's formal representative office in the US, Lu said that the office has functioned well and that its two most recent chiefs have consistently enjoyed the government's full trust and authorization while their performance and achievements have received official recognition and applause.

Meanwhile, reports from Washington said David Ta-wei Lee brushed aside the "mistrust" report, pointing out that morale at TECRO was high and that none of its staff had been affected by it.

"All representative office staff, including myself, have always put national interest above anything else," Lee said.

"We have dedicated ourselves to fulfilling all the missions and duties authorized by our government," Lee said.

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