Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Mark Chen mulls taking the stand in `special fund' trial

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mark Chen (陳唐山) will become the first presidential secretary-general to testify in court if he answers a summons from Taipei District Court, which is hearing the case of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "state affairs fund."

The Taipei District Court has asked Mark Chen and four other members of the presidential staff to give testimony on Friday to shed light on the president's discretionary fund.

The court wants to determine whether they knew anything about the use of the fund, part of which President Chen claimed to have spent on secret diplomatic projects.

Mind not made up

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) yesterday said that Mark Chen was still assessing his options and had not yet made up his mind.

The Presidential Office has twice defied court rulings that it surrender documents relating to the president's fund.

The court ruling came after the Taipei District Court had previously rejected a request from prosecutors that documents relating to secret diplomatic activities be seized.

President Chen has said that some of the secret diplomatic projects must remain secret and would go with him to the grave.

Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is scheduled to hold a three-way video conference with the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank tonight, starting at 9:30pm.

Cross-strait affairs

Lu will talk to the host, Jerome Cohen, in New York and members of the council's chapter in Washington. Issues scheduled for the 90-minute meeting include cross-strait affairs and Taiwan's future, Lee said.

Cohen is a professor of law at New York University's School of Law and a specialist in Chinese law. Lu was under Cohen's supervision when she studied law at Harvard.

This will be the second time the council has held a video conference with Taiwanese officials.

The first occasion being in October 2000 when it talked to the president.

The council is a non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of US foreign policy and international affairs through the exchange of ideas.

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