Tue, Aug 28, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan hears of diplomatic spat with angry Panama

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

A Control Yuan briefing by Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday over the troubled relationship between Taiwan and Panama allowed the ministry to avoid being investigated for a blunder and revealed that the Central American ally had tried to pressure Taiwan to increase aid funding, a Control Yuan member said yesterday night.

Ger Yeong-kuang (葛永光), who presided over a meeting of the Control Yuan’s Diplomacy and Overseas Committee and who is a member of the Control Yuan made the remarks by telephone.

Ger said that the Control Yuan supported the ministry in its handling of the case with Panama because its rejection of an increase in aid funding had complied with the three main principles in regard to the granting of foreign aid: Proper goals, legal processes and effective administration. He added that it also defended the dignity of the nation.

Yang was asked to explain to Control Yuan members a private meeting he had with Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela when they were in Guatemala for January’s presidential inauguration.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli refused to accept the credentials of Ambassador Diego Chou (周麟) until late last month, six months after Chou took up the position.

Based on Yang’s briefing, Ger said that Martinelli had demanded Taiwan provide with the country with greater levels of funding in exchange for his acceptance of Chou’s credentials, a request the foreign ministry declined.

The statement outlined by Yang was acceptable, Ger said.

Ger said that the Control Yuan agreed with Yang that Martinelli had used his meeting with Varela as an excuse to delay accepting Chou’s credentials.

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