Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) has been invited to attend the US National Prayer Breakfast scheduled for Feb. 7, but there will be no official delegation from Taiwan representing the government at the event, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said yesterday.
Hsia made the remarks in a rebuttal to a report in the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday, which said the organizer of the US National Prayer Breakfast had not extended an invitation to the Taiwanese government to participate in the event.
The paper said President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration persuaded Sean Lien (連勝文), a central committee member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), to defer the honor to King and that Ma had designated King to be present at the meeting on behalf of his administration.
Hsia said the report was incorrect, as the invitation to King and his wife, Chou Huei-ting (周慧婷), was sent directly from the organizer.
“Although there will be no official delegation from Taiwan attending the prayer meeting, it is not unusual. There was no official delegation in 2008,” Hsia said.
As Taiwan-US relations are currently good and there are various channels to conduct communications, the government does not place as much emphasis as it had previously on the prayer meeting, which used to serve as a opportunity for government representatives to meet with US officials when ties were weaker, a ministry official said.