President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen revealed yesterday that he had a telephone conversation with Soong on Saturday night before his departure for the Marshall Islands on an official visit.
During the conversation, he asked Soong to act as his messenger and deliver certain friendly messages to Chinese officials.
But the president did not say whether Soong had agreed or not.
"However, my request to Soong does not mean that he has been `authorized' by the government. That is totally different," Chen said.
The president made his remarks during the flight from Taipei to Agana, Guam, yesterday.
In the meantime, Chen also said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) kept the promise that he had made during their telephone conversation on April 26 and did not cross the line.
"Lien is actually suffering from terrific pressure from the US authorities regarding his trip to China. But, I am glad that he did not break his promise to me, according to the `five-point vision for cross-strait peace' which was announced as a joint press statement," Chen said.
"I have to say what I feel about chairman Lien and chairman Soong's trips to China," the president said.
According to Chen, prior to Lien's trip, a "US authority" has urged him not to become an instrument of propaganda for the Chinese communists and Lien has promised not to let this happen. In addition, Lien called him on April 26 and, obviously, the "five-point vision for cross-strait peace" showed that Lien did not break his promise.
Chen did not explain who the "US authority" was but it is believed to be American Institute in Taiwan Director Douglas Paal, who met with Lien a couple of weeks ago.
However, senior presidential advisor Koo Kwang-ming (
Koo established a fishing company in Majuro and registered six of his fishing boats in the Marshall Islands. In addition, he also invested US$600,000 in the Bank of Marshall Islands. He went to Majuro last week to deal with details of the president's trip and was part of a welcoming group, organized by Marshall Islands officials, at the airport when Chen's charter plane landed around 6pm, local time.
"No matter how we hate each other at home, once we step out, we shall stand together as a team," Koo said.
Chen departed from Taipei around 5am yesterday to begin his five-day trip to cement Taiwan's diplomatic relationships with the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
According to the Presidential Office, one of the purposes of the president's trip was to participate in the Marshall Islands' Independence Day celebrations yesterday.
"The president leaves on May 1 and will return to Taiwan on May 5," said Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General James Huang (黃志芳).
According to Huang, the navy also sent two of its Lafayette-class frigates to visit the Marshall Islands and participate in the celebration activities. Chen will invite Marshall Islands President Kessai Note and reporters to board one of the frigates for breakfast today.
After the breakfast, Chen will deliver a speech at the Marshall Islands parliament which will be broadcast live by a local radio station, while a TV station will record the entire event and air it later.
In the afternoon, Chen will board a canoe with Note for the launching ceremony of a canoe contest.
Chen will leave for Tarawa, Kiribati's capital, tomorrow.
In Tarawa, the president is scheduled to deliver a speech at Kiribati's parliament at 3pm.
On Wednesday, Chen will leave for Funafuti, Tuvalu's capital. However, due to the limitations of Funafuti International Airport's facilities, only propeller aircraft will be allowed to land. Half of Chen's team will therefore fly directly to Agana, Guam, while the president and 15 reporters visit the country.
According to the official schedule, the president will meet with Tuvalu Governor Filoimea Telito and Prime Minister Maatia Toafa and will sign an agreement with Toafa after the meetings.
Chen, officials and reporters will leave Funafuti for Guam on the same day and will return to Taiwan on Thursday.
also see story:
PFP confirms Chen-Soong telephone call
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012