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May 28, 2017

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ROC envoy may meet with Sao Tome president

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe has expressed his wish to meet with Sao Tome's president to talk about the leader's recently concluded China tour, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.

David Wang, (王建業) head of MOFA's Department of West Asian and African Affairs, yesterday said that Jack Cheng (程豫台) had already asked the Sao Tomean presidential office to arrange a meeting with President Manuel Pinto da Costa, who recently returned to his country following a trip to China and Portugal.

However, the African leader will soon embark on trips to attend the African Union conference and other regional meetings, Wang noted.

Taiwan's embassy in the ally nation hopes that the envoy can meet with President Pinto da Costa sometime next month, by which time he will have returned from his trip, Wang added.

"The ambassador has regular meetings with the Sao Tomean leader," he noted.

Some topics that will be touched on during the possible meeting next month include the African leader's recent trip to China as well as his promise to visit Taiwan later this year or early in 2015, Wang said.

"We will definitely bring up these topics in the meeting," the MOFA official said.

According to previous foreign media reports, President Pinto da Costa departed from 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.

Chinese authorities earlier this month confirmed the visit but did not disclose a more specific itinerary for the African leader.

The itinerary of the leader's trip in China was different from the information the ally previously told Taiwan's embassy in Sao Tome and Principe, according to MOFA.

The Sao Tomean leader told Taiwan that Shanghai would be his only stop in China.

China Visit for Port Project

MOFA has previously expressed its concern to the African ally, saying that its leader should avoid making visits to Beijing, a move that could harm bilateral ties.

According to MOFA, President Pinto da Costa told Taiwan's embassy that the trip is meant to attract Chinese investment in a construction project on a deepwater port in Sao Tome and Principe.

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

He also 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, it added.

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