Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Representative of Palau calls Reuters report inaccurate

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Palau charge d'affaires to Taiwan Lydia Ngirablosch said on Friday her country sees Taiwan as its "best friend" and wants to remain so.

Although a couple of months ago there were rumors in her country that Palau could switch recognition to Beijing, that noise is now gone, she said in response to a Reuters story published in this paper on Friday.

In its story, Reuters quoted Ngirablosch as saying that some Palau lawmakers were suggesting that it break ties with Taiwan and recognize China instead.

The story quoted her as saying that some members of Palau's 16-seat House of Delegates had said ties with Beijing would result in more business opportunities.

Responding to the story, Ngirablosch told the Taipei Times on Friday night that Reuters "was not reporting everything in the right way" and as a result gave the impression that Palau wanted to switch diplomatic recognition to China, "which is not the case."

The news that two congressmen at the House of Delegates were talking about switching ties a couple of months ago had came out in local newspapers, she said, adding that "Reuters must have known that."

That news happened a long time ago and only broke out once, she said.

"They made the comments because they believe there is good business to be made in China and because of the booming economy there. But nobody says this anymore. It means nothing in Palau," she said.

Contrary to what Reuters reported, she denied saying that some congressmen had recently traveled to China and Macau. Rather, she said, "businessmen were going to China and Macau in search of business opportunities."

Ngirablosch said hat the long relationship between Palau and Taiwan had grown in strength since diplomatic ties were established.

"We have relations with Taiwan because we share the common values of life, democracy, peace, human rights and security," she said.

She also denied saying to Reuters that one or two Palau lawmakers favoring ties with Beijing would run for president in November next year.

Contacted by the Taipei Times yesterday for a response to Ngirablosch's remarks, Ralph Jennings, the author of the Reuters report, declined to comment.

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