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Taiwan to sponsor at least 8,000 Haitian children: president

2010/02/24 22:12:57

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday civicgroups and charities in Taiwan will sponsor 8,000 to 10,000 Haitianorphans and children from low-income families.

Addressing a Lunar New Year party held by the Ministry of ForeignAffairs in honor of foreign diplomats and representatives stationedin Taipei, Ma said Taiwan has finalized an aid package to help itsCaribbean ally get back on its feet after a devastating magnitude-7earthquake in January.

In addition to the child sponsorship program, Ma said, the aidpackage will include a Taiwan healthcare center in Haiti to trainmedical and healthcare staff, 1,200 permanent houses that will beable to accommodate 6,000 displaced families, and vocational trainingcenters for 3,500 job seekers.

Ma, who made a stopover in the Dominican Republic Jan. 28 on hisway home from Honduras to show his concern for earthquake-batteredHaiti, said Taiwan will be a responsible stakeholder in theinternational community under his leadership.

The Republic of China will be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker,a humanitarian aid provider, not an apathetic bystander, Ma said.

According to the president, his administration's top foreignpolicy goal is to make Taiwan an internationally respected country.

On external relations, Ma said his government's efforts toimprove relations with China will also contribute to Taiwan'srelations with other major countries around the world.

He also expressed the hope that China will show more goodwill andless obstructionist tendencies with regard to Taiwan's bid to joininternational governmental and non-governmental organizations.

"If China can do this, the people of Taiwan will be more willingto support my administration's efforts to deepen cross-straitengagements, which in turn will lead to a benign cycle," Ma added.

In an effort to make Taiwan a hub for Asia-Pacific trade, Masaid, his administration is working to sign an economic cooperationframework agreement with China to smooth the way for similar freetrade agreements with its other major trade partners.

"All these efforts are aimed at protecting us from beingmarginalized in this era of globalization and regional economicintegration," Ma added.

Stressing Taiwan's efforts to develop soft power, Ma said hisgovernment plans to offer more Taiwan scholarships to attract youngforeign students.

The dinner party at Taipei Grand Hotel featured dishes anddelicacies made with local ingredients such as Hsinchu rice noodle,Puli winter mushrooms, Penghu seafood and Yilan duck.

Members of the Taipei diplomatic corps, senior governmentofficials and prominent business executives attended the party.

(By Garfie Li and Sofia Wu)
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