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Officials to discuss San Tomean China tour: source

A senior official from Taiwan's African ally San Tome and Principle is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) today and the two sides might talk about President Manuel Pinto da Costa's recent China visit, a source told The China Post yesterday.

A diplomatic source who prefers to remain anonymous told The China Post yesterday that Amaro Pereira do Couto, the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of the Republic Democratic of Sao Tome and Principe, was scheduled to arrive in Taipei late yesterday for a visit.

The ministry has made arrangements for the senior San Tomean official to meet with Lin today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) headquarters in Taipei, the source said.

One of the major topics the two sides are likely to touch upon is a recent China tour made by President Pinto da Costa, the source noted.

 According to foreign media reports, President Pinto da Costa departed his country on June 6 to China and Portugal as part of a private visit.

 He was scheduled to visit both Shanghai and Beijing during a weeklong private stay in China before flying to Portugal for another two weeks of private business, reports said.

 The itinerary of the African leader's trip in China is different than the information the ally previously told Taiwan's embassy in Sao Tome and Principe.

 According to MOFA, the Sao Tomean leader told Taiwan that he would be visiting Shanghai only and the trip was meant to attract Chinese investment for a construction project on a deep water port in Sao Tome and Principe.

 The Sao Tomean president stressed that he would not engage in any official activities during his tour in China and noted that the visit would not harm bilateral ties between the R.O.C. and his country, according to MOFA.

 Chinese authorities last Wednesday also confirmed the visit.

 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news source that Pinto da Costa “attended economic and trade activities in a private capacity,” but she said she did not have the specific itinerary.

MOFA's Grave Concern

 In response to the visit, MOFA expressed the nation's grave concerns over the ally leader's China tour.

 Though the ministry had been informed of the trip beforehand, MOFA said Taiwan's government asked Sao Tome and Principe to cherish the long-term friendship between the two countries and not engage in similar activities that will affect two-way relations again in the future, it noted.

 The San Tomean president promised that he will be leading a delegation on a state visit to Taiwan before the end of this year or early in 2015 in a concrete move to solidify ties, the MOFA added.

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