Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 3 News List

President to hold video conference with US think tank

TIMING IS EVERYTHING Chen will speak with members of the American Enterprise Institute while the presidents of the US and China are meeting

By Ko Shu-lingand Su Yung-yao  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will hold a video conference with a Washington think tank on Thursday when US President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

Presidential Office spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said yesterday that Chen would respond to issues relating to the Bush-Hu meeting during the video conference.

Lee said that the 90-minute video conference with the American Enterprise Institute was scheduled to begin at 9pm.

Chen will explain to US academics that a referendum on Taiwan's UN membership will not change the "status quo" in the Taiwan Strait, but instead prevent China from unilaterally changing the "status quo," Lee said.

military buildup

Dennis Wilder, the senior director of East Asian affairs at the US National Security Council, said on Friday that Bush would explain to Hu the US stance on Chen's plan for a referendum on UN membership and express concern over China's "worrisome" military buildup opposite Taiwan.

Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday that Taiwanese hoped the US would view the nation's UN bid from the perspective of freedom, democracy and human rights.

If the US worked with China to suppress Taiwan's democracy, it would prove that Washington was being held hostage by an authoritarian country, Shieh said.

Shieh said the Taiwanese government would dispatch officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government Information Office and trade and economics agencies to the APEC meeting to monitor developments. He said that while the government was concerned that Hu would take the opportunity of his meeting with Bush to work against Taiwan, the Chen administration was more interested in the US' response to Chinese pressure.

media attention

Shieh said that the country's UN bid had attracted considerable media attention. He said there had already been about 860 news articles on the subject this year, compared with about 100 by the same point last year.

Shieh said international opinion was neutral or sympathetic to Taiwan's bid and that the US would have nothing to gain by working with China to suppress democracy in Taiwan.

Shieh said that Taiwan's latest UN bid was far more organized than previous efforts and was the manifestation of the nation's democracy and respect for human rights.

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