Taiwanese diplomat speaks out in St Lucia-China debate

CASTRIES, St Lucia, May 23, 2007 – The new Taiwanese counselor Allen Lou has categorically said that Prime Minister Sir John Compton fully supported the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

His comments came amidst widespread political talk in the country that Sir John’s recent illness was exacerbated by an alleged rift in Cabinet with the prime minister being out-numbered by a section of his Cabinet referred to as the “Super 8”. There has been an almost persuasive school of thought that Sir John wanted to retain relations with China but that he only knew about the re-establishment of ties with Taiwan after it was signed by the foreign affairs ministries of both countries.

In an unusual statement for a diplomat, Lou said in an interview with The Star newspaper of St Lucia that it was not true but that Sir John was solidly behind re-establishment of relations.

“Sir John is everyone’s grand father,” said Lou. “Sir John is also our long time friend. We expect that Sir John will recover very soon and we are praying for him.” Lou said he personally had the feeling—when he took part in a meeting with Sir John—that his sentiments and support was with Taiwan. “That’s the signal I received from him. I think from the beginning to the end Sir John was supportive of Taiwan through and through. There is no doubt about that.”

Sir John who was hospitalised in the United States after suffering a series of strokes is now back home in St Lucia where he is reported to be resting comfortably. There are no indications that he intends to cede power though there have been reports that his ruling party was seeking to replace him as prime minister.