Wed, Dec 13, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen back in the saddle, meets foreign dignitaries

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday resumed his normal duties after falling ill in the wake of last Saturday's elections.

Chen on Monday canceled two meetings with foreign guests. He was scheduled to meet Honduras Vice President Ernesto Santos Ordonez at 10am and an Austrian delegation led by Governor of Carinthia Jorg Haider at 11am.

Citing health reasons, Chen asked Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to receive Santos on his behalf and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet Haider.

Chen yesterday met Santos at the Presidential Office and apologized for the cancelation of Monday's meeting.

Chen said that he felt extremely sick before the meeting and had to ask his doctor to come to the Presidential Office for a check-up. Chen said that he must have caught a cold while campaigning over the weekend.

"I began feeling sick on election day [Saturday] but did not go to a doctor until the next day [Sunday]," he said. "It must have been the pills that made me so sick [on Monday] morning that I had to cancel our meeting."

Chen added he was sorry that Santos had to postpone his planned trip to Hualien so the two could meet. He himself had to cancel an inspection trip to Kaohsiung County yesterday afternoon.

After the morning meeting, Lu took Santos to visit Farglory Free Trade Zone, the world's first and largest free-trade air cargo zone, in Taoyuan County in the afternoon.

During his meeting with Tuvalu President Apisai Ielemia later yesterday afternoon, Chen, who received the Speaker of Tuvalu's House of Assembly Kamuta Latasi on Monday, said that their visits demonstrated the friendship between the two countries and hoped the two countries would continue cooperation based on a solid foundation.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) yesterday said that whether or not first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) would appear in court on Friday would depend on her health condition.

"Nobody can tell how well she might be that day as her health condition has been very unstable," she said.

"However, security personnel have checked out the place and are ready to provide any necessary assistance if she feels well enough to go," she said.

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