Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MOFA denies delegation split

ALL FOR ONE The foreign ministry rebutted a report that the KMT, the DPP and the legislature would be attending Barack Obama's inauguration in separate groups

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday rebutted a media report that three separate delegations would attend the inauguration of US president-elect Barack Obama in Washington next Tuesday as members could not agree on who would lead the delegation.

The Chinese-language "United Daily News" reported yesterday that, originally, delegates from the government, the Legislative Yuan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would all be part of the same delegation headed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jing-pyng (王金平).

However, since the different groups could not agree on who would head the delegation, they resolved the issue by creating three delegations — a government delegation headed by Wang, a DPP delegation headed by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and a KMT delegation led by Vice Chairman John Chiang (蔣孝嚴).

The report also said that the split had caused problems in arranging the schedule and getting admission tickets to the ceremony for Taiwan's representative office in the US.

MOFA rebutted the report.

“There's no split in the delegation as media outlets have reported, because everyone — including representatives from the government and different political parties — will attend Obama's inaugural ceremony as one delegation,” MOFA spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) told the Taipei Times by telephone.

“It's just that since different groups of people have different arrangements, it will be more convenient for each group to travel on its own before and after the ceremony,” he said.

Chen also denied that itinerary requests from different groups had caused problems for the ministry.

“MOFA's goal is to help members of the delegation make arrangements. We're trying our best to make them and there's no problem at all as far as the schedule or ticket arrangements are concerned,” he said.

DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), a member of the DPP delegation, said the ministry had not told him “the delegation would be split into three,” but added that he was not surprised at the ministry's incompetence and failure to arrange the delegation properly.

DPP caucus whip Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) said the caucus believed that the former vice president has rich political and international experience and was the best person to head the delegation.

Lu said it would be an international joke if the government had to separate the delegation into three.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG

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