Taiwan’s President to Visit Honduras

Foreign Minister Francisco H.L. Ou said Wednesday that President Ma Ying-jeou will be accompanied on his planned visits to some of Taiwan’s Central American allies in June by non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives and a cultural group, in an effort to display Taiwan’s “soft power.” “We have made many plans that include inviting cultural groups and NGOs, such as World Vision Taiwan and the Red Cross, to accompany the president,” Ou said.

“The arrangements will be different from previous trips as we will demonstrate our ‘soft power, ‘” the foreign minister said, referring to Taiwan’s competitive advantages in the fields of technology and cultural creativity. “We also hope that the first lady will join the president on the state visits, in light of these arrangements.” Ou made the remarks in a Q&A session at a luncheon hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Global Views Monthly magazine, at which he delivered a keynote speech on the prospects and results of the government’s “modus vivendi” diplomatic strategy.

Some 180 people, including three MOFA deputy and vice ministers, attended the event.

Ma is planning to visit Central America twice between late May and July to attend presidential inaugurations in El Salvador and Panama and possibly to make state visits to Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.

Rebutting a local newspaper report that the plan to visit Honduras has been called off by President Mel Zelaya because one of Taiwan’s foreign aid programs there was suspended, Ou said the president’s planned trip has nothing to do with the project, which is in fact a private investment program by Taiwan Power Company.

Noting that the president’s itinerary has yet to be finalized, Ou said his ministry is still discussing the details of the trip with several of the allies.

However, he acknowledged that it might be inconvenient for Honduras to host Ma’s visit, given the fact that the annual meeting of the Organization of American States is scheduled to be held there June 2-3.

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