Taiwan: Clinton Expected to Visit Taiwan later this Month
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is expected to visit Taiwan before the end of this month as part of a tour of Asia
Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
confirmed news reports Wednesday that former U.S. President Bill Clinton is
expected to visit Taiwan before the end of this month as part of a tour of Asia.
MOFA spokesman Michel Lu said the Foreign Ministry invited Clinton to visit
Taiwan in a move to show Taiwan's admiration for Clinton's contributions to
maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area during his tenure. Inviting retired
U.S. presidents, as well as heads of state from countries that are friendly
toward Taiwan, have always been the set policy of the Foreign Ministry, Lu added.
Delivering a speech in Taipei and meeting with President Chen Shui-bian are
expected to be part of his one-day itinerary, the details of which have yet
to be fleshed out, according to MOFA officials. Although Clinton is no longer
president, he is expected to be accorded treatment befitting a head of state
during his visit, according to MOFA officials. Clinton has remained an internationally
important figure since his retirement and now acts as an unofficial representative
of the United States. During his upcoming Asian tour, Clinton is expected to
visit South Asian and Southeast Asian countries that were battered by the devastating
tsunami of Dec. 26 last year. He is also expected to visit several Northeast
Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea and mainland China. "It is
hoped that Clinton will be able to squeeze in one day to visit Taiwan during
the tour, " MOFA officials said. With eight years in the White House, Clinton
is very familiar with the delicate triangular Taipei-Washington-Beijing relations.
The former U.S. president originally planned to come to Taiwan in November 2003
but was forced to cancel the visit due to a tight schedule. He was also scheduled
to visit Taiwan Sept. 12, 2001, but failed to make it due to the 911 terrorist
attacks. Clinton visited Taiwan four times during his tenure as governor of
Arkansas before being elected U.S. president in November 1991.
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