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Officials barred from ceremony to inaugurate Lee Myung-bak

Government says China was behind South Korea's last-minute move

Officials barred from ceremony to inaugurate Lee Myung-bak

Government officials yesterday confirmed that under pressure from China, South Korea did not allow Taiwan's representatives to attend South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's inauguration ceremony that was held on Monday.
"The suppression move can serve as evidence that Beijing will not show mercy to Taiwan regarding the sovereignty issue," President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.
Chen added that although Taiwan's Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is a member of the opposition Kuomintang, a pro-unification party, Beijing would still continue its relentless oppression of Taiwan in international arena.
Chen said that Wang and Mark Chen (陳唐山), secretary-general of the National Security Council (國家安全會議) were originally invited by the South Korean government to attend the inauguration.
After the two Taiwan officials arrived in Seoul, however, the representatives from Beijing pressured their Korean counterparts, asking them to disallow both Taiwan representatives from attending the ceremony.
The Chinese delegation threatened to withdraw from the event if the Korean government did not do so, Chen said, which compelled South Korean officials to reject Taiwan's envoys.
Chen predicted that China's oppression would only become even more fierce after a new president is elected and assume his post on May 20.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister James Huang (黃志芳) also expressed his disappointment regarding the incident, saying that Korea's last minute refusal is surrendering to Beijing.
Although the two Taiwan envoys did not attend the ceremony, Wang and Chen made extensive visits to South Korean officials, parliamentarians, and prominent figures during their stay in Seoul, Huang disclosed.
In reaction to the incident, Kuomintang Legislator John Chiang, a former foreign minister, accused the MOFA's errors in arranging the two Taiwan envoys' visit to South Korea.
Chiang cited himself and Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) as examples, saying that they both were able to attend former South Korean presidents Kim Young Sam and Roh Moo-hyun's inaugurations in the name of representatives of Taiwan's political parties.
Proper planning can bypass political problems that hider Taiwan's participation in similar events, Chiang said.
Lee, a former mayor of Seoul and former CEO of Hyundai Group, was sworn in Monday as the Republic of Korea's 17th president. He is expected to govern with hard-headed pragmatism and a management style similar to that of a corporate chief executive officer to boost South Korea's economy.


Updated : 2021-08-04 08:22 GMT+08:00