Thu, Apr 02, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office mum on planned overseas trips

IN THE WORKS A newspaper said the president will visit El Salvador for the presidential inauguration, but a spokesman said everything was still in the planning stage

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is likely to make an overseas trip this summer, but the Presidential Office was reluctant to discuss his travel plans yesterday.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said “everything was still being planned.”

A high-ranking official at the office, who said he was not authorized to talk about the matter, said that he did not know the details, but “the direction [of the report] could serve as a reference.”

He was referring to a story in yesterday’s Chinese-language United Evening News that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was planning a visit to El Salvador for Ma.

The president would leave May 29 for a six-day trip to attend the inauguration of Salvadoran president-elect Mauricio Funes, the paper said. Ma would make a stopover in New York on his way to Central America and stop in Panama and the US west coast on his way back.

As Funes had expressed interest in establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing, the report said Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) strongly suggested Ma attend his inauguration.

The ministry was also arranging a trip to Panama in July, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Office declined to comment yesterday on a trip to China by National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi’s (蘇起) wife.

Chen Yue-ching (陳月卿) told SETTV and TVBS reporters in Beijing that she was in the Chinese capital to promote her book and that there were no regulations preventing her from traveling.

She dismissed speculation that she would convey a message to Chinese authorities on behalf of her husband.

Chen said her husband was not against her trip but told her to avoid appearing on TV. Wang said the Presidential Office respected Chen’s private trip and she was not breaking any law.

Also making the rounds in China is former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who is scheduled to arrived in Xian today to attend a memorial ceremony for the Yen Emperor.

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