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May 30, 2017

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Still no leads in case of slain diplomat: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- No major leads have emerged in the murder case of a Taiwanese diplomat who was found dead in the Dominican Republic nearly a year ago, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.

"Over the past year we have been in close contact with Dominican Republic authorities regarding the death of Julia Ou (區美珍)," Florencia Hsie (謝妙宏) deputy director-general of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said at a MOFA briefing yesterday.

Several possible suspects have been interrogated by investigators, Hsie said, but none of their DNA samples have matched the DNA found at the crime scene, she added.

MOFA has kept pressure on police in the Dominican Republic, a Central American diplomatic ally of Taiwan, to solve the case as soon as possible, she said. Sadly, however, no major breakthrough has emerged, she added.

During a visit to Santo Domingo last December, Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lin also told the country's president, Danilo Medina, that Taiwan is willing to provide forensic assistance if necessary, and that he hoped the case could be solved in a timely fashion, according to Hsie.

Local authorities, however, have so far declined the offer, she noted.

The 55-year-old Ou, a secretary of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission posted in the country, was found slain in her apartment in the Dominican Republic on April 16, 2012.

She was found stabbed to death in a bedroom of her residence in Santo Domingo, where she lived alone, after having failed to show up for work and not answering phone calls.

No Timetable for Ma's Next

Visit to Allies

Meanwhile, commenting on previous media reports that President Ma Ying-jeou planned to visit three of the nation's Caribbean allies soon, Hsie said yesterday that MOFA has not received any such instructions from the Presidential Office.

The MOFA official, however, said that the president has visited most of Taiwan's 23 diplomatic allies around the globe, highlighting three countries — Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis — as possible sites of the next diplomatic tour.

The leaders of these three allies have already visited Taiwan several times, and they have all extended invitations to Ma for a visit, she added.

"We will be making preparations (for Ma's tour) once the time is ripe," she said, adding that there is currently no clear time line.

Foreign Minister Lin concluded a trip to the three countries last month.

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