President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) planned transit stops in the US during his trip to Central America later this month are still being arranged, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman David Wang (王建業) said yesterday.
He said the ministry would file an official request with the US government for the planned transit stops at the proper time, and no decision has so far been made as to which cities the president would transit.
Wang said the details of the plan will be made public closer to the president's departure date.
His comments came in response to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News that Washington has refused to allow Chen to stop over in the continental US or stay overnight during a transit stops.
The newspaper cited unidentified sources as saying that Washington's decision reflected its displeasure at Taiwan's plan to push for a referendum on whether to apply to join the UN under the name of "Taiwan."
Asked about the matter during a daily press briefing in Washington on Wednesday, US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said he was not aware of any formal request by Taiwan for Chen to make a transit stop.
"It would be awfully speculative of me to try and tell you what we might do or might not do in terms of any specific requests and the timing of it," Casey said.
He said Washington's policy on transit requests by Taiwanese leaders was based on a standard adherence to both the US obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act and the principles of safety, comfort and convenience for the traveler.