8 Oct 2004

Taiwan dismisses suggestion of involvement in alleged Kiribati opposition attack

4:23 pm on 8 October 2004

The Taiwanese Embassy in Kiribati has dismissed a suggestion that it may have been behind an attempted assault on a Kiribati opposition member.

Dr Harry Tong was threatened at his home on Wednesday night by a knife-wielding man who was chased away by neighbours.

Opposition spokesman Brian Orme said Dr Tong recognised the attacker but attempts to get police help in the matter were unsuccessful.

Mr Orme said they suspect Taiwan may have instigated the attack, considering Dr Tong's criticism of Taiwan's influence in Kiribati's domestic affairs.

But the political counsellor at the Taiwanese embassy, Randy Wang, says such attacks are not the way his country operates.

"I think that's a really outrageous suggestion. First of all, we don't do anything like that. Secondly, I think it's probably just a drunken man or something like that. I don't know why the opposition is connecting everything with Taiwan - that's really beyond my imagination because there's no obvious logic to it."