Vice president starts tour of allies

Staff Writer, with CNA, SANTO DOMINGO

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 - Page 3

Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) arrived in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday on the first leg of a two-nation tour of Latin America.

Wu and his entourage were whisked directly from Las Americas International Airport to his hotel, where a group of Taiwanese expatriates greeted him waving the Republic of China national flag.

He later met with his Dominican Republic counterpart, Rafael Alburquerque, as well as Dominican president-elect Danilo Medina and vice president-elect Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, and attended a dinner hosted by Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.

He was scheduled to attend Medina’s swearing-in ceremony yesterday on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Wu extended his congratulations to the president-elect on his election and handed over a congratulatory letter written by Ma.

Medina said that he last visited Taiwan in 2004 and was impressed by the country’s development.

Having achieved great progress in its economic development over the past 50 years, Medina expressed hope that Taiwan would share its experience with his country.

The proposal was readily accepted by Wu.

Wu later told reporters that for his current trip to Latin America, he has prepared Taiwan-made HTC smartphones and Acer tablet computers as gifts for officials of the nation’s two diplomatic allies.

He said the products best represent Taiwan’s leading information and communications technology and that Taiwan will “share its best products with its best friends.”

The vice president is scheduled to visit Belize before returning to Taiwan on Friday next week via Los Angeles.

During a stopover in New York on Tuesday, Wu held talks with leaders of the Taiwanese expatriate community in the US.

American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt was also present.

In his address, Wu described the US as Taiwan’s best friend and one of the country’s most important partners that share common values.

It is therefore important for the two sides to maintain mutual trust in order to uphold and achieve their common goals, Wu said.

Under Ma’s leadership, he said, Taiwan has worked to revitalize its economy, consolidate cross-strait peace and bring goodwill to the international community.

Ma’s recent initiative calling for a peaceful resolution to the East China Sea territorial disputes is part of Taiwan’s efforts to become a “creator of peace,” Wu said.

He pointed out that over the past four years, the number of countries that have granted Taiwanese nationals visa-waiver privileges has increased from 54 to 128.

Taiwanese nationals will be even happier after the inclusion of Taiwan in the US visa-waiver program, expected by the end of this year, he said.

Asked by reporters if he had met any US officials while in New York and if issues concerning the beef trade and resumption of trade talks were discussed, Wu said only that he would talk about these issues “when the time is ripe.”