Ma returns, heads to central emergency center
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in Taiwan after an 11-day pan-American visit yesterday morning and headed toward the Central Emergency Operation Center to monitor the latest developments of Tropical Storm Trami.
August 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Despite the long flight, the president did not appear to be fatigued.
Before heading to the Central Emergency Operation Center, Ma held a brief press conference at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
During his pan-American visit, the president traveled to Paraguay, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis — all of which the R.O.C. shares official diplomatic ties with.
En route to Paraguay, Ma stopped over in New York City, meeting U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
On his way back to Taiwan, Ma stopped over in Los Angeles and met the city's mayor, Eric Garcetti.
The president's stopover in L.A. was cut short due to concerns over Tropical Storm Trami.
The president said that during his pan-American visit, three communiques, one extradition treaty and one joint statement were released and signed, signifying a strengthening of ties between the R.O.C. and its allies.
Ma expressed gratitude toward Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis for aiding Taiwan in its efforts to take part in the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The president said that he has invited the leaders of those three states to visit Taiwan, adding that they have accepted his invitation and may come to Taiwan in November at the earliest.
In response to allegations accusing the administration of “checkbook diplomacy,” the president stressed that foreign aid given out by the R.O.C. has to be justified, legal and effective.
The R.O.C. and its allies have collaborated on projects in numerous sectors, including agriculture, medicine, technology, infrastructure and education, Ma said, specifically pointing out solar power and agricultural tourism collaborations.
The president said that during his visit to Haiti, he inspected various reconstruction projects carried out with the help of Taiwan, following the devastating earthquake that struck the Caribbean state in 2010.
Ma said that although his stopover in L.A. was cut short due to Trami, he was able to speak to several high-level officials.
The president explained that he returned to Taiwan earlier than planned to stay on top of the tropical storm's latest developments.
After concluding the press conference, the president headed straight toward the Central Emergency Operation Center to oversee disaster prevention operations carried out by the central, city and county governments.