Indonesia appears to rule out Ma attending APEC Summit


JARKARTA — Indonesia will organize this year’s meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum the same way it did the last time it hosted the event, an Indonesian official said Tuesday, apparently ruling out any possibility of President Ma Ying-jeou taking part in the proceedings in person.

APEC meetings are of an international nature, said A.M. Fachir, head of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s department of information and public affairs, and as such, Indonesia’s arrangements for this year’s gathering will adhere to the precedent set the last time the Southeast Asian country hosted the event 19 years ago, he told CNA.

He was responding to questions about arrangements for the economic leaders’ summit, part of the annual meetings of ministers and leaders of the APEC’s 21 member economies.

Because of China’s objections, Taiwan’s president has not been able to attend the summit in the past and has had to appoint a proxy each year.

When the APEC summit was held in Bogor, Indonesia in mid-November 1994, Vincent Siew, who at the time was head of the Executive Yuan’s Council for Economic Planning and Development, attended on behalf of then-President Lee Teng-hui.

Siew, 74, later served as premier and was vice president from 2004 to 2008.

This year, the ministerial and leaders’ meetings will take place in Bali in the first week of October.

In an interview with a Taiwanese TV news channel Monday, Ma said that conditions are not yet ripe for him to attend this year’s summit, with China still being the main obstacle.

Since Ma became president in 2004, former Vice President Lien Chan has been his representative and the head of Taiwan’s delegation to the APEC meetings for five consecutive years.