Apr 18, 2004

Taiwan: New Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun appointed

Taiwan will mantain its nation's sovereign status, peace and stability in the Strait and participating in international projects, Taiwan new Foreign Minister said
New Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun said yesterday he will uphold "three insistences" in performing his duty as the nation's diplomatic chief.
"The three insistences are maintaining our nation's sovereign status, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and participating in international cooperative projects to fulfill our international obligations," Chen said at a changeover ceremony.

Chen, a U.S.-trained physicist who entered domestic politics after he returned to Taiwan in the early 1992 after working for almost 20 years in the United States, also said at the ceremony that he has long dreamed of integrating government and private resources to let the world know that there is an island country in the West Pacific called the Republic of China, which has stood firmly against giant communist China.

In the changeover ceremony, Chen took the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official seals from his predecessor, Eugene Chien, who resigned last week as a result of fallout surrounding the resignation of American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairwoman Therese Shaheen, the top U.S. liaison officer with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Chen, who has been a legislator and two-term magistrate of the rural southern Taiwan county of Tainan, said that in the face of mainland China's suppression, Taiwan's diplomatic work is always fraught with tough challenges and difficulties.

"I'll exercise prudence in carrying out my mission," Chen said, adding that he will use passion, energy and perseverance to fulfill his duties.

Chen further expounded on his insistence on maintaining Taiwan's sovereign integrity, stressing that after undergoing three direct presidential elections, as well as the first-ever transition of power between different political parties in 2000, Taiwan has become a "100 percent" democratic country.

With the deepening of democracy, Chen said, the people of Taiwan have reached a consensus on "Taiwan first" and on a Taiwanese identity.

During his stint as foreign affairs minister, Chen said he will do his utmost to promote Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations and other major international organizations and non-government organizations (NGOs) , as well as working to upgrade Taiwan's international profile.

Noting that maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is not only "Taiwan's insistence" but also a common policy in the international community, Chen said stable and peaceful cross-strait relations are critical to Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian security.

"Maintaining cross-strait peace and stability is not only in Taiwan's interest but also in the international interest," Chen said, adding that Taiwan will strengthen its security dialogues and cooperation with the United States, Japan and Southeast Asian countries in order to safeguard regional peace and prosperity.

Moreover, Chen said, Taiwan's democratic experience and achievements are precious assets for Taiwan to forge cooperative ties with major countries around the world.

"The MOFA-affiliated Taiwan Foundation for Democracy can be a good conduit for promoting international cooperation in democratic reform and development," he added.

In the future, Chen said, the MOFA will work to expand Taiwan's participation in international cooperative programs in the security, trade, economic and democratic development fields in order to contribute to world peace and prosperity.

Speaking on the same occasion, Chien noted that the heads of state of 12 of the ROC's diplomatic allies will travel to Taiwan to attend President Chen Shui-bian's May 20 inauguration for a second four-year term.

"They will come here to witness Taiwan's progress in democratic development, " Chien said, adding that he is convinced that the MOFA will score even more diplomatic achievements under his successor's stewardship.

At the changeover ceremony, Chen presented a "diplomacy medal" to Chien in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of Taiwan's foreign relations during his two-year stint.

Source: China Post