Mon, 22 Aug 1994

President of Taiwan not to attend APEC

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas on Friday dashed all speculation concerning Taiwanese President Lee Teng- hui's participation at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting, by asserting that Taiwan will be represented only by a senior official.

"For the APEC leaders meeting, we will follow the exact format as the Blake Island meeting...this means Taiwan and Hong Kong will only be represented by their minister of economy," Alatas remarked.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Kazakhstan's foreign minister, Alatas stressed that the Nov. 15 meeting in Bogor, West Java, would also remain informal.

APEC consists of the United States, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Indonesia, which currently presides over the forum.

Succumbing to Chinese pressure, Lee Teng-hui absented himself from last year's inaugural APEC leaders meeting on Blake Island.

However, as the Bogor meeting approaches, Taiwan has shown strong interest in attending. Rumors heightened last week when presidential spokesperson, Raymond Tai, in Taipei claimed that Indonesia had extended an invitation to Lee.

The claim was quickly refuted by the Indonesian foreign ministry.

Though Jakarta officially maintains a one China policy and has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, relations have blossomed.

China, which claims sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, has reportedly strongly warned against Lee's possible attendance.

When queried if Taipei could pressure Jakarta into extending an invitation in light of Taiwan's US$8.5 billion in investment here, Alatas flatly rebutted the suggestion.

"Its not a question of being able to force us or not, its about us trying to host an APEC leaders meeting where all can attend or not," he replied diplomatically.


Earlier in the morning, Alatas met his counterpart from Kazakhstan, Kanat Saudabayev, who arrived here on Thursday.

"There are big opportunities for cooperation between our two countries, not only in the trade and economic field but also in the political one," Saudabayev said in his native Kazakh language.

Elaborating further on the political aspects of bilateral cooperation the visiting foreign minister said that both countries would benefit from the enhancement of stability in their respective regions.

Alatas concurred about the potential for bilateral political cooperation between the countries.

"Especially in the various regional and international forums such as the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference of which they will soon become a member," he said.

The Republic of Kazakhstan broke away from the former Soviet Union and declared itself an independent state on Dec. 16, 1991. With a population of about 17 million, this small state in central Asia is a major producer of metals and raw materials.

Alatas also revealed that President Nazarbayev had originally been slated to embark on a trip to Indonesia, but the trip had to be postponed due to a schedule conflict.

"A new time convenient to both sides is currently being discussed. I hope the visit can still take place this year," he said.

Before leaving Jakarta on Saturday, Saudabayev also met with Minister of Trade Satrio Budiardjo Joedono, members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) and businessman Hasyim Djojohadikusumo. (mds)