Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 3 News List

MOFA says Ma didn*t snub Aso

SELF-DENIGRATION DPP legislators cited a report that said the president met the former Japanese prime minister as a private citizen, not Taiwan*s head of state

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (暩蟼譭) yesterday rejected allegations that former Japanese prime minister Taro Aso was not accorded the treatment he deserved as a high-profile guest during his four-day trip to Taipei this week.

During the trip, Aso met President Ma Ying-jeou (堜褙朐) on Wednesday at the Taipei Guest House, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (魦旄讔) at his residence and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (趠詍磡) at his hotel. Aso and his family left Taiwan yesterday morning.

Sources said Aso also met with former president Lee Teng-hui (軝崞?) at a banquet hosted by 〝Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (齌蝁旄勂) chairman Jeffery Koo (迖眵撂), who invited him to Taiwan. Taiwan independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (迖帡睌) also visited Aso at his hotel.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators on the legislature*s Foreign and National Affairs Committee criticized the meeting with Ma based on an unsourced report on Tuesday in the Chinese-language China Times that said the president met Aso as a private guest rather than ROC president.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-〝liang (齍?梖) said Ma ※downgraded 〝himself§ to please China.

※Why did Ma meet Aso in such a clandestine way? Why didn*t he receive him at the Presidential Office as president? In contrast, we see that Han Zheng (粧櫆), the mayor of Shanghai, was treated like royalty,§ Tsai said.

Han, heading a 200-strong delegation, also arrived this week in Taipei on a four-day visit. His activities were headline news, with Taipei 101 lighting up on Wednesday night as a welcome gesture when he visited the landmark.

Responding to Tsai, Yang strongly denied that Ma met Aso as a private citizen.

※During their conversation, President Ma said that he had met Aso in 2006 when he was Taipei mayor ... and now as president,§ said Yang, who was also present at the meeting.

Yang said that Aso also addressed Ma as ※President Ma.§

An anonymous ministry official involved in arranging Aso*s itinerary said the former Japanese prime minister wished to keep a low-profile because he and his family were in Taiwan ※mainly for a vacation.§

In related developments, Yang told DPP Legislator Chen Ying (蠊?) that Taiwan*s relationship with Palau remained stable.

Chen said she had learned from a classified report that National Security Bureau Director Tsai Der-sheng (齍孮蒤) told the committee a few weeks ago that China was trying to get Palau to switch its diplomatic allegiance.

Yang said the ministry took note of all events that might have an impact on the country*s diplomatic ties, but added that ties with all 23 allies remained stable.

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