Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

`Hot season for foreign affairs' expected

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The second annual convention of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) will be held in Taipei on Monday, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.

Describing the second half of the year as a "hot season for foreign affairs," Lu told the Presidential Office press corps yesterday afternoon that her just-concluded visit to Latin America had been just the prelude.

In addition to the DPU convention, Lu said, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to attend a summit with leaders of the nation's diplomatic allies in Central America on Aug. 20. Following the Taiwan-Africa allies summit scheduled for next month in Taipei, Chen also plans to visit Taiwan's Pacific allies in October.

Lu said about 100 guests from 33 countries are expected to attend the two-day DPU convention from Monday.

The vice president and former vice president of Nicaragua are among the dignitaries expected to attend the convention, she said.

Founded by Lu in August 2005, the DPU brings together 28 democratic countries from the Asia-Pacific region and aims to make a concerted effort to promote democracy, peace and prosperity worldwide.

The organization plans to welcome three new member states this year -- Colombia, Ecuador and Nauru. France, India and Switzerland will attend the event as observers.

One of the highlights of the convention is the planned establishment of the Pacific University Alliance, which would enable 41 international and local colleges and universities to engage in various exchange programs and offer scholarships.

Panel discussions on Tuesday will include topics ranging from the situation in the Pacific after the Beijing Olympics, climate change and sustainable development in the Pacific.

The DPU's board of directors will vote on a new chairperson on Monday.

Lu said that if she were to be re-elected as DPU chairwoman, she would have more free time to organize events and visit member countries, as she would soon be stepping down as the nation's vice president.

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