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Taiwanese President Began His Journey of Humanity to Central America

Sing Tao Daily, News report, Ryan Shih Posted: Jan 27, 2010

San Francisco - In the rain, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou stopped by San Francisco on Monday night before continuing his trip to Central America. Unlike his last two visits, Ma filled his plane with supplies for the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Ma described his trip as a “Journey of Humanity”.

Due to the poor weather, Ma’s plane did not arrive at the San Francisco International Airport until 7:24pm. Upon his arrival, Ma immediately went to Marriott Hotel in Burlingame where he briefly greeted and shook hands with over three hundreds supporters at the hotel lobby.

On his first night in San Francisco, Ma planned to make phone calls to Congress members and friends in Washington DC to discuss recent US-Taiwan issues, such as importing American beef to Taiwan, allowing Taiwanese citizens to enter the US without a visa and more importantly, Taiwan’s rescue efforts in Haiti. On Tuesday, Ma will meet with members of the Committee of 100 - a national non-partisan organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent- and to have dinner with Chinese community leaders.

This is Ma’s third visit to San Francisco since becoming president of Taiwan. However, supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Bay Area (also known as the Green Party) did not show up and protest against Ma as they did in the last two times, and they hosted a press conference criticizing Ma’s administration earlier on.

Also, since this is a “Journey of Humanity,” Ma loaded his plane with several tons of medicine, food and rescue resources, with a total value of $150,000 dollars for the earthquake victims in Haiti.

Before leaving Taiwan, Ma expressed his original plan was to attend the inauguration of Honduras’s new president Porfirio Lobo Sosa. However, since Haiti was struck by the earthquake, killing nearly 200,000, he decided to stop by the Dominican Republic on his way back to meet with President Leonel Fernandez and government officials from Haiti to discuss the post-disaster plans to rebuild Haiti. Ma will also meet with Taiwanese foreign officials who moved to Dominican Republic from Haiti after the earthquake.

Ma pointed out that, in addition of sending rescue and medical teams to Haiti, the Taiwanese government has promised to donate five million to Haiti, and the Taiwanese citizens are also offering four million dollars worth of materials and resources to the victims. Haiti needs long -term assistance and the recovery plan should address that, he noted.

Ma’s accompany crew is made up of one hundred individuals, including government officials.

Translated by Vivian Po

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