Mon, Dec 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ma’s office mulling diplomatic travel to Americas

Staff writer, with CNA

The Presidential Office is still evaluating whether President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will visit diplomatic allies in Central and South America early next year, said an official familiar with the matter.

The official, who requested not to be named, made the statement following a Saturday report in the Chinese-language United Evening News that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is arranging for Ma to attend the inauguration of Honduras’ new president and maybe to visit allies in the region.

“Such travel proposal is still being evaluated,” the official told the reporters.

Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) also declined to comment on the newspaper report, saying only that the Republic of China (ROC) has maintained a close relationship with Honduras, and officials from the two countries visit each other frequently.

Kao said that Honduran President-elect Juan Hernandez has been friendly toward the ROC and has visited Taiwan during his tenure as speaker of the Honduran National Congress.

ROC Ambassador to Honduras Joseph Kuo (郭永樑) met with Hernandez following his win in the Central American country’s presidential election on Nov. 24 to convey Ma’s congratulations on his electoral success, Kao said.

The Honduran presidential inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 27 next year.

Meanwhile, a ministry official said yesterday that all Taiwanese diplomatic personnel stationed in the Gambia and their Gambian counterparts in Taiwan will head to their respective homes by Wednesday, a month after the two countries formally broke off diplomatic ties.

The withdrawal of embassy personnel has entered the final phase, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Diplomatic workers from either country are required to leave their posts by that date, with exceptions only for personnel dealing with “major issues” that cannot be resolved within the time frame.

Taiwan terminated diplomatic relations with the Gambia on Nov. 18, three days after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, surprised Taipei with a unilateral announcement ending 18 years of formal ties.

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