Sat, Dec 29, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen calls new heads of Nauru, Solomon Islands

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) telephoned new Nauru President Marcus Stephen and new Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua on Thursday to congratulate them on their election victories, a Presidential Office news release said.

The press statement said Chen invited the new leaders of the nation's two South Pacific diplomatic allies to visit Taiwan in the near future to exchange views on matters of mutual interest, including measures to expand bilateral cooperation.

The statement said Chen assured both the Nauruan president and the Solomon Islands' prime minister that his administration would continue various cooperative projects with the countries.

He also called for continued support from the two countries for the nation's bid to join major international organizations, including the UN.

Stephen told Chen that he values his country's ties with Taiwan and would work to increase cooperation in various fields. Stephen also expressed his gratitude for the nation's longtime support and aid to his country, the Presidential Office statement said.

Meanwhile, Sikua expressed hope that Chen would either attend in person or name a special envoy to attend celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the founding of his country, scheduled to be held on Jan. 31.

Sikua also told Chen that the Solomon Islands would like to host the 2009 Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit and that he would do his utmost to help Taiwan join the UN and the WHO.

The third Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit is scheduled to take place in Kaohsiung next year.

Chen invited Sikua and Stephen to attend the meeting and expressed his hope that Taiwan and the Solomon Islands would wrap up talks on a free trade agreement as soon as possible and ink the deal.

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