Ex-VP begins private journey in the west


NEW DELHI, India–Taiwan’s former Vice President Annette Lu yesterday began a weeklong private visit to India, which she described as an ancient civilization “worth coming to visit to understand better.” There is considerable opportunity for interaction between Taiwan and India in the area of “soft power” in the future, Lu said at Delhi International Airport upon her arrival Friday night. “In recent years, there has been a breakthrough in Taiwan-India relations. It’s a good thing,” she said, without elaborating. According to Taiwan’s representative office in India, Taiwan-India trade ties have grown steadily in recent years, with two-way trade surging to US$7.5 billion in 2011 from US$6.4 billion the previous year and US$4.1 billion in 2009. Taiwan’s largest integrated steelmaker, China Steel Corp., decided last week to invest US$178 million in an electrical steel plant in Bharuch district of Gujarat. The new project brought Taiwan’s total investment in India to over US$1.2 billion, the office said. Lu, accompanied by friends and a close aide, flew to New Delhi Friday. Asked whether she will meet Dalai Lama during her stay, she said she would love to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader, whom she described as an old friend. She also said, however, that she was afraid that it would be inappropriate to arrange a meeting at the last moment. The Dalai Lama is presently in Delhi for a regular eye-sight checkup. Asked about the defeat of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Jan. 14 presidential election, the DPP heavyweight said she hoped the party would organize a series of discussions after the Jan. 21-29 Chinese New Year holiday to review why it lost.

Party members should open their hearts to discuss what caused the defeat, Lu said. Lu will travel to Utta Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi before returning to Taiwan on Jan. 28.