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High-level U.S. delegation will attend Ma's inauguration: minister

2012/04/28 13:46:30

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) A high-level delegation from the United States will attend President Ma Ying-jeou's inauguration for his second term in office next month, symbolizing the strong bilateral ties that exist between the two countries, Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said.

The delegation will be composed of guests who have "direct access to the U.S. administration and the White House," Yang said in an interview with CNA.

"Once an announcement is made, people will see that the U.S. takes the inauguration ceremony very seriously," he said, adding that he will not discuss possible attendees ahead of Washington's announcement of the names of the invited guests.

In 2008, then-U.S. President George W. Bush assigned a five-member delegation led by former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to attend Ma's first inauguration.

Asked whether the members of the delegation will exceed Card's ranking, Yang refused to comment, only stressing their importance in politics.

According to Jason Yuan, Taiwan's representative to the U.S., the White House will soon announce the names of the delegation members.

Although the U.S. government is unlikely to send any incumbent officials to the event, he said the delegates will be people with close connections to President Barack Obama.

So far five heads of state and 40 delegations, totaling 223 individuals, have said they will attend the May 20 ceremony, Yang said in a question-and-answer session at the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee earlier in the week.

(By Nancy Liu)