Sat, Aug 18, 2007 - Page 3 News List

President to leave for Central America summit on Tuesday

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will leave on Tuesday on a nine-day trip to Central America aimed at boosting diplomatic, trade and investment cooperation with the nation's allies in the region, the Presidential Office said yesterday.

The trip will take Chen and his entourage to Honduras to attend the Sixth ROC-Central America Summit and then onward to El Salvador and Nicaragua, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.

The president would stop over in Alaska on his way to and from Central America, he said.

"[Where to] transit is not the issue of this trip. It will be a worthwhile trip as long as we can achieve our goal of consolidating [the nation's] friendship with [its] Central American allies," he said.

Chen Chi-mai made the remarks in response to a media query on what the president would do to safeguard the nation's dignity given speculation that the choice of Alaska was a show of US displeasure with the president's push for a referendum on applying for UN entry using the name "Taiwan."

Chen Chi-mai added that the government was still negotiating with the US about the details of Chen's stop-over in Alaska.

He said Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明 ), Democratic Progressive Party legislators Tang Bi-a (唐碧娥) and Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓), Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) and a number of businesspeople will join the president's 88-member entourage.

The president is scheduled to return on Aug. 29.

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