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President Chen Makes Transit Stop in Alaska

President Chen Shui-bian departed from Taipei at 9:20 a.m. on August 21 on the "Trip of Joint Grand Vision and Eternal Concern." The president made brief remarks prior to his departure, stressing that he is determined to do everything possible to enhance diplomacy for Taiwan. He also reiterated that Taiwan has every intention of forging ahead in applying to enter the United Nations and the World Health Organization under the name "Taiwan."  

After the president's chartered plane took off and he had a chance to rest a bit, he then made his way around the aircraft, shaking hands with members of his entourage, behind the scene workers, and members of the press corps traveling with him. He thanked everyone for joining in this mission to help Taiwan step into the international community and to further strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic alliances with its friends in Central America.

After a flight lasting over eight hours, President Chen's plane landed at Anchorage International Airport in Alaska at about 2 a.m. Alaska time (August 21, 5 p.m., Taipei time) to refuel. After docking, American Institute in Taiwan Honorary Chairman William Brown and Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell boarded the plane, accompanied by Taiwan Representative to the United States Joseph Wu, to welcome President Chen and hold discussions.  

President Chen expressed his regret that AIT Honorary Chairman Brown had to be inconvenienced to meet him in the wee hours of the morning and that the transit stop was so short. He expressed his appreciation to Honorary Chairman Brown for greeting him and also thanked the United States government for making arrangements so his plane could stop and refuel in Alaska. Honorary Chairman Brown told President Chen that when he stops in Alaska on his journey back to Taiwan, AIT Board Chairman Raymond Burghardt will personally be on hand to greet him. President Chen once again expressed his appreciation.

Honorary Chairman Brown expressed his admiration for Taiwan's sustained development and progress. He said that he saw with his own eyes the transformation of Taiwan from an authoritarian system to a vibrant democracy while he was stationed on Taiwan. He said many people, himself included, have great respect for the democratization, rule of law and financial liberalization that have taken place on Taiwan. He also said he is aware of President Chen's political experience and background over the past few decades, once again saying how much he admires the president for his efforts to carry out democratic reforms.

Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell also welcomed President Chen on his transit stop in Alaska. He noted that the Taiwan-Alaska Trade and Investment Cooperation Council (TATICC) has now been in existence for three years and the agency has helped to boost bilateral trade and exchanges between Alaska and Taiwan. The fourth meeting of TATICC will be held in Anchorage in February 2008 and he said he is looking forward to even more achievements.

President Chen held cordial discussions with AIT Honorary Chairman Brown and Lieutenant Governor Parnell for about one-and-a-half hours. The talks were originally only meant to last 50 minutes.

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