Fri, Aug 10, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Lu suggests Chen avoid `difficulties' while planning trip

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said arrangements for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) trip to Central America would be easier if his planned transit stops were only stopovers.

"I didn't run into any difficulties last time I visited Central and South America because I didn't make a fuss during my transit stop in the United States," she said.

During her overnight stay in San Francisco, California, Lu said she was able to meet the people she wanted to meet and talk with everyone she wanted to talk to without putting the US government in an awkward position.

Lu made the remarks during a lunch with reporters at the Presidential Office.

Lu said the US was unlikely to give a final decision on Chen's planned itinerary until the last minute, adding that media reports about his transit stops had all been pure speculation.

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) expressed the same opinion. He also dismissed a report published in yesterday's edition of the Chinese-language United Evening News that claimed Chen would reject any offer to stop in Alaska or Hawaii instead of the continental US.

"It's completely groundless," Lee said.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still working on the details. We will let everybody know as soon as they are finalized," Lee said.

Chen is scheduled to leave for Central America on Aug. 20 to attend a summit in Honduras.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that summit invitations had been sent to the presidents of Taiwan's seven allies in the region.

The ministry said Chen was not planning to visit Suriname, which is reportedly eager to improve diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

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