Wed, Jul 02, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Former ministers rally behind Francisco Ou

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former ministers of foreign affairs Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang, left, diplomat Ding Mou-shih, second left, Frederick Chien, second right, and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, right, show their support for Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou at the ministry yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Four former foreign ministers expressed support for Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) yesterday, praising his ability to do the job and lambasting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers for their “impolite and unreasonable” conduct last Monday, when they blocked Ou from reporting to the legislature.

Ou, 68, a career diplomat, was forced to cancel his presentation and leave the committee room last week after DPP legislators took over the speaker’s podium. DPP lawmakers held up placards calling for Ou’s resignation and calling his loyalty into question over his obtaining a US green card when he was ambassador to Guatemala in 2005.

The lawmakers also blocked the door to keep Ou from leaving. Former foreign minister John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator, helped Ou push through the crowd.

“It was very unfair of the DPP to call me a ‘runaway minister’ when it was clear that they were the ones who wouldn’t let me speak. In reality I had already reported to the DPP caucus that very morning prior to the interpellation session, even though it was not required of me,” Ou said, speaking out for the first time since last Monday’s brawl.

“I absolutely did not run away like they said,” he said.

Calling the incident “truly regrettable,” Chiang called the behavior of the DPP legislators “a great insult” to the public that had disappointed the entire nation.

Another former foreign minister, Frederick Chien (錢復) said: “Put yourself in his [Ou’s] shoes and be more considerate.”

“Everyone wants instant results right now. Remember that he has only been minister for 41 days,” Chien said in defense of his former subordinate.

Former foreign minister Ding Mou-shih (丁懋時) praised Ou’s handling of the Diaoyutai incident, in which a Japanese coast guard patrol boat and Taiwanese fishing boat collided in disputed waters last month.

“He not only affirmed Taiwan’s stance on the issue, he was able to do so while maintaining bilateral harmony between two countries and in the region,” Ding said.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who headed MOFA from 1997 to 1999, described Ou as “positive, professional and earnest,” adding that Ou’s patriotism was steadfast and that “having a green card does not equate to disloyalty.”

“What official has used a green card to run away?” he asked.

Ou has said he relinquished his US permanent residency shortly after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) asked him to serve as head of the ministry in mid-April.

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