- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

Taiwan honors Helms
The Republic of China (Taiwan) has given retiring Sen. Jesse Helms one of its highest awards to honor his support for Taiwan's flourishing democracy.
Chen-jen Chen, Taiwan's representative in Washington, presented Mr. Helms, North Carolina Republican, with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon in a brief ceremony last week.
Mr. Chen read a statement from President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Chen Shui-bian, who praised Mr. Helms as an "outstanding statesman who has devoted himself to promoting the amicable relations between the United States and the Republic of China."
Mr. Helms, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "I am humbled to have been honored by the government of the Republic of China, for it is the people of Taiwan democratic China who deserve American recognition and solidarity."
He noted that Taiwan initiated democracy with the 1996 election of Lee Teng-hui and the 2000 election of Mr. Chen.
Mr. Helms said Taiwan has "courageously embraced the principles of democracy and freedom in the face of hostility" from communist China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.
"It is this courage that we should be honoring here today," Mr. Helms said.
He said that after 30 years in the Senate, "I take great satisfaction in knowing that I have done my best to be helpful in safeguarding Taiwanese sovereignty, security and democracy."
The United States "must continue to do whatever is necessary to help Taiwan defend itself," he said.
"As I prepare to leave the Senate next year," Mr. Helms added, "I am confident that there are other dear friends of Taiwan in the Senate who will be around to stand up for the precious cause."

Drug treaty needed
The United States wants a treaty with Ecuador to allow U.S. naval vessels to intercept boatloads of drugs and illegal migrants, according to the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador.
Ambassador Kristie Kenney told Reuters news agency that the United States is now powerless to stop suspicious boats unless it first notifies the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and waits for permission.
"If our Coast Guard sees a boat full of illegal migrants right now, we go through a cumbersome process of notification through foreign ministries, and an extraordinary amount of time can pass," she said.
"What we've said so far is we'd like to negotiate a treaty to cover these issues."
Mrs. Kenney also said Washington wants a new extradition treaty with Ecuador to replace an outdated one from the 19th century.
Cocaine smugglers from neighboring Colombia frequently cross through Ecuador to use its ports to ship drugs to the United States.
Illegal immigration has risen since the 1999 economic crisis that increased unemployment in the Andean nation of 12 million.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Pedro de Camargo Neto, secretary of production and trade in Brazil's Agriculture Ministry, who participates in a forum on agricultural trade policy at the Cato Institute.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Defense Minister Robert Hill of Australia, who lead a delegation for the annual round of Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations. They will meet with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Vadim Karastelev of Russia's Novorossiysk Committee for Human Rights, who briefs Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on the oppression of ethnic Turks and other minorities in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia.
Mirtha Quevedo, president of Bolivia's Senate, and Guido Anez, president of Bolivia's Chamber of Deputies. They discuss democracy in Latin America at the Inter-American Dialogue.
Human rights advocates Marina Pisklakova-Parker of Russia and Oksana Horbunova of Ukraine, who participate in a forum on human trafficking sponsored by Vital Voices Global Partnership.
Marta Lagos of Latinobarometro, a major public opinion research firm in Chile, who discusses the Brazilian presidential election and other issues at the Inter-American Dialogue.

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