Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Ma to visit Central America twice in next few months


President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will visit Central America twice between the end of next month and July to attend presidential inaugurations in two of Taiwan’s allies in the region, political sources said.

The president’s travel plans show that he will depart for a week-long Central America visit late next month that will take him to El Salvador to attend the inauguration of president-elect Mauricio Funes.

He will also travel to several of Taiwan’s other allies in the region. In July, the sources said, Ma is scheduled to visit Panama for three to four days, mainly to attend the inauguration of the country’s next president.

Ma made his first overseas tour as Taiwan’s head of state last August when he visited the Dominican Republic and Paraguay.

For that trip, Ma used a regular scheduled commercial flight to travel to the US, from where he flew to Central America on a chartered aircraft.

For the forthcoming visits Ma will only use chartered flights, with no decision yet made on which carrier will be used.

On customary transit stops in the US, the sources said, safety, convenience and comfort will remain the top guiding principles in all relevant arrangements.

Central and South America and the Caribbean are Taiwan’s diplomatic stronghold, with many of its 23 diplomatic allies located there.

Meanwhile, the sources said that Ma is also likely to attend a summit meeting between the leaders of Taiwan and its South Pacific allies to be held in August or September in the Solomon Islands.

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