Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma unlikely to attend APEC summit: Ou

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) said yesterday it would be “very difficult” for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to attend the next APEC summit.

Approached for comment in the legislature, Ou said that although such an arrangement was unlikely, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would do its best to facilitate the presence of senior officials at the summit.

“If [we] were able to send a high-ranking [representative], we would view this as progress,” Ou said.

Ou’s comment came in response to a remark by Douglas Paal, vice president of the Carnegie Endowment Foundation, during a forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Taipei on Sunday.

“I would really like to see President Ma attend the APEC leadership meeting, which by definition is an informal meeting. You are going to find a title for him other than president Ma … I think in a couple of years or three years, this should become a realistic possibility,” Paal said.

Asked whether he meant Ma should seek to attend the summit this year, Paal said: “That was not my point. What I was trying to say was, accumulate some successes down the road and we should harbor the dreams of moving forward.”

Panelists of the forum also praised the president’s “diplomatic truce,” describing it as “strategic, smart and appropriate.”

Paal said the fact that Paraguay had not switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing — something its president had threatened to do during his electoral campaign — was proof that China had “tacitly” approved Ma’s overture.

Ou did not say whether Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo’s decision to maintain ties with Taipei constituted a gesture of goodwill on Beijing’s part.

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