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Conditions not right for APEC attendance: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the conditions which would allow him to take part in this year's APEC Summit have not been met.

Rumors have recently surfaced claiming that the administration has been seeking avenues through which Ma could attend the meeting.

In response to reporters who asked why he couldn't take part, given the current stable ties between the two sides of the strait, Ma said that mainland China is still very insistent on certain points when it comes to international events.

Earlier yesterday, the Presidential Office echoed Ma's statements, stressing a “lack of conditions” as a primary reason behind the president's inability to participate in the upcoming APEC Summit.

This year's APEC Summit will be held in Bali, while Indonesia is slated to send an envoy to Taiwan by the end of this month to extend an invitation.

According to local reports, former Vice President Lien Chan (連戰), who has served as a representative of the president at APEC Summits over the past several years, has yet to be “notified” to take part in this year's event.

Sources claim that high-level officials have been working on a plan to get the president to attend, and after several months of talks they have been able to overcome several diplomatic hurdles, but the final decision has yet to be made.

In response to these reports, Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li (李佳霏) said that the president will do all he can to take part in the event as an economic leader of Taiwan, but that his “willingness to participate” is no different from former Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian — neither of whom had been able to take part in the event during their presidencies.

Whether this can be realized depends on certain circumstances, Li said, stressing that currently speaking, there is still “a lack of conditions.”

Li said that Indonesia, the host of this year's APEC summit, will send an envoy to Taiwan to extend an invitation, while the government will stick to the protocol of notifying the host as to whom it will be sending to the event.

Over the past several years, Lien, who also doubles as an honorary chairman of the Kuomintang, has taken part in APEC Summits as a “representative of (Chinese Taipei's) economic leader.”

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