Wed, Nov 01, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Vice president to represent Chen at Gambian ceremony

By Ko Shu-ling and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will represent President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the inauguration of Gambia's president, a source said yesterday.

"The vice president will attend the inauguration ceremony as the president's special envoy," an official at Lu's office said on condition of anonymity.

Gambia is one the nation's African allies. President Yahya Jammeh won a third term in a landslide victory in September, garnering 67 percent of the vote. His government has not decided the date of the inauguration.

Deputy Presidential Office Spokesperson Cho Chun-ying (卓春英) confirmed that Chen had asked Lu to visit an ally. However, she said she could not confirm the country.

LOW PROFILE

Cho said the Presidential Office has a legitimate reason to keep a low profile when arranging trips for the president and vice president -- trying to avoid China's efforts to suppress the nation's diplomatic efforts.

Arranging overseas trips also takes more time, she said.

Lu led a delegation to Jammeh's second inauguration in December 2001. Lu traveled on behalf of Chen because no European government would permit the president to transit for fear of angering China.

China's objections to a scheduled transit stop in Europe for Lu during her 2001 tour also caused difficulties. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it took about three months to arrange Lu's trip at that time.

In related news, the ministry said yesterday that a summit with top African leaders planned for this month will be postponed until next year.

Chen will attend the summit, African Affairs Department Director Lee Chen-hsiung (李辰雄) said.

"Basically the summit will be postponed to next year. It is has been confirmed that President Chen will participate," Lee said. Lee did not say why the summit was postponed.

BEIJING MEETING

China is holding a summit with the leaders of 40 African nations this week in Beijing, and Taiwan's African allies were invited.

Ministry spokesman David Wang (王建業) said yesterday that it had received confirmation that no officials from Taiwan's African allies had accepted the invitation to Beijing.

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Is China the new colonial power in Africa?

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