Presidential Office Denies
Taipei, March 8 (CNA) The Presidential Office said Thursday that President Chen Shui-bian never made any promises to a U.S. firm concerning the establishment of casinos on Taiwan’s offshore Penghu Islands.
In a formal statement, the Department of Public Affairs of the Presidential Office denied categorically that Chen promised Selbon G.
Andelson, chairman of the Las Vegas-based Venetian Group, that the U.S. firm could invest and develop casinos on Penghu.
Presidential public affairs officers said Interior Minister Chang Po-ya misquoted Chen by saying at the Legislative Yuan Wednesday that the president agreed during a meeting with Andelson Oct. 26, 2000, that the Venetian Group could invest some US$2.5 billion in Penghu to build casinos.
The officials said Chen expressed agreement when Andelson said that Las Vegas operators have redefined the term “gambling city” as meaning a Mecca of entertainment, with operations ranging from golfing, shopping, and restaurants to show business and international conferences, in addition to gaming and gambling.
Chen said as an island country, Taiwan should develop its own international, ocean tourism. He said he hopes that Andelson’s investment will enable Taiwan’s tourism industry to become part of global tourism links, the officials noted.
Meanwhile, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said the Executive Yuan has not made any decisions on whether offshore casinos should be opened.
He noted that the issue is currently under evaluation, adding that President Chen has no fixed stance on the issue but will respect the decisions that the Cabinet makes.