Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Taiwan to set up its first Okinawa TECRO office

UPGRADE: A private association will become the Naha branch office of the nation's de facto embassy in Japan, MOFA officials said yesterday

By Chang Yun-ping
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday confirmed that a private association in Okinawa will be inaugurated as a diplomatic branch office of Taipei's representative office in Tokyo, in a move signifying Taiwan's long-delayed formal recognition of Okinawa as a part of Japanese territory.

Lo Koon-tsan (羅坤燦), executive director of MOFA's Committee on Japanese Affairs, said the ministry is currently working with authorities in Japan to change The Sino-Ryukyuan Cultural and Economic Association, Taipei's private diplomatic representation in Okinawa, into the Naha Branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan. Naha is the capital of Okinawa prefecture.

Since Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Japan in 1972, Taipei has only maintained the private Sino-Ryukyuan Cultural and Economic Association to handle bilateral exchanges due to the disagreement over Okinawa's status.

Lo said it will be the country's first establishment of a representative office in Okinawa since 1972, when the Taiwanese government issued a statement to "express dissatisfaction and regret" over the US' unilateral decision to return the US-occupied territory of Okinawa to Japan without any prior consultation with the Taiwanese authorities.

"Thirty years after 1972, Taiwan-Okinawa relations have come into a new phase with strong bilateral personnel and business exchanges taking place, so we have decided to set up a representative office in Okinawa," Lo said yesterday at a ministry press conference.

Asked whether the presence of a representative office in Okinawa signified Taipei's recognition of Okinawa as part of Japanese territory, Lo said only that since 1972 the country "has never denied" that Okinawa belongs to Japan.

The official said that the Japanese and Taiwanese authorities are currently drafting a mutual agreement on the establishment of the representative office in Okinawa, which should be officially inaugurated by the end of the year.

Under a mutual agreement between the US and Japan in 1971, the US Armed Forces-occupied territory of Okinawa and the South-western islands, including the Diaoyutais, was returned to Japan.

The sovereignty of Okinawa and the Diaoyutais has been a sensitive issue for the governments of Taiwan, Japan and China. According to China's version of history, Japan siezed Okinawa from China by force in 1879 while the Qing Dynasty was involved in several wars with other foreign countries.

The ministry official yesterday said that while the government does not deny that Japan has sovereignty over Okinawa, it is indisputable that Taiwan has sovereignty over the Diaoyutais.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Taiwan dispatches additional help to victims

Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
2006-05-30, Jenny W. Hsu

To provide immediate and comprehensive care for the victims of the Indonesia earthquake, the government-sponsored Taiwan International Health Action group dispatched three additional doctors to the affected area yesterday, a health official said.

The two orthopedists and one general practitioner were the second batch of relief workers sent from Taiwan, said Peter Chang (張武修), director-general of the Bureau of International Cooperation under the Department of Health.

They will be providing emergency medical care at the ad hoc triage centers set up by the Taiwan search and rescue team, which arrived less than 30 hours after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, Chang added.

"Taiwan IHA and Taiwan Rescue Team were the first foreign aid groups to arrive in the area," he said, adding that a third team of workers is ready to go to Bantul at a moment's notice.

Bantul was one of the hardest-hit areas in the devastating temblor that shook Indonesia's Java Island on Saturday, leaving over 5,000 people dead and 200,000 homeless.

In addition to the 2,000 kilograms of food and rescue equipment that has already arrived in Indonesia, Taiwan's government will also be donating another 100 kilograms of medical supplies and equipment, including IV drops, saline solutions, medicines, and bags of artificial blood, Chang said.

"With the combined effort of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, we are also sending over 200 light blankets and 200 tents," he disclosed.

Furthermore, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pledged to donate US$100,000 to the Indonesian earthquake relief fund. It will be presented to the Indonesia government via Taiwan's representative office in Jakarta.

Health Action group convener Richard Fang said despite of lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Indonesian government wholeheartedly welcomed Taiwan's humanitarian aid.

"Not only did our donations receive priority attention, our relief workers are granted landing visas upon their arrival," he said, adding that the Taiwanese workers will stay in Indonesia for as long as is necessary.

In additional to government efforts, many Taiwanese civic groups and non-governmental organizations are also looking to contribute to the relief process.

Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist-based organization, dispatched 51 volunteers, including five doctors, one nurse and one pharmacist, to the disaster area on Sunday. The foundation has also donated over 500 kilograms of goods such as tents, sarons, straw mats, powdered milk, baby food, rice, and clothes.

Both World Vision Taiwan and The Red Cross Society of the R.O.C. are both raising funds for those affected by the earthquake. Claire Yang of World Vision Taiwan said it was not suitable so far for people to donate goods since most of the infrastructure in southeastern Java where the temblor hit was flattened, making making it difficult to transport and distribute the items.

"What we are trying to do right now is to raise at least US$100,000. We will use the money to buy the supplies locally," she said.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Taiwan Sets Self-Defense Objectives

Island Seeks to Preserve Autonomy With Boost in Military Spending

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, May 21, 2006

BEIJING, May 20 -- Taiwan unveiled its first formal national security policy Saturday, pledging to increase defense spending by 20 percent and urging China to cooperate in establishing a military buffer zone to lower tension in the Taiwan Strait.

The 162-page document, issued after long delays and extensive debate among President Chen Shui-bian's advisers, was designed as a guideline for this and future governments in defending the self-ruled island against any attack from China, officials said. Reflecting Chen's dream of full Taiwanese independence, it postulates that Taiwan's "overall strategic goal is to guarantee the country's sovereignty."

China had no immediate reaction. It has long insisted, however, that Taiwan is not a sovereign nation, but a province that must return to the Chinese fold. China has vowed to use force, though as a last resort, to prevent the island and its 23 million inhabitants from attaining formal independence.

In describing Taiwan's security environment, Chen's government compared the Chinese military to the Nazi war machine in World War II and asserted that China is bent on long-term military expansion that requires it to control Taiwan and the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. In a recent interview, Chen said Taiwanese intelligence had information that China has a plan to attack the island within 10 years, but this assertion was not repeated in the strategy declaration.

Only by building up its own military and economic strength, the document declared, can Taiwan preserve its de facto independence and democratic system. To make that possible, it said, the government will boost military spending from 2.5 to 3 percent of gross domestic product.

Chen's government has been trying without success for the last several years to increase the military budget to accommodate an $18 billion purchase of U.S. weapons. The Legislative Yuan, controlled by the opposition Nationalist Party, has refused to approve the funds, saying the weapons package is too expensive and not appropriate to Taiwan's needs.

In addition, the document said, the Defense Ministry will go ahead with previously announced plans to reduce the 300,000-member military by a third over the next two years, in part by cutting back the length of required service from 18 months to one year.

The strategy declaration emphasized that overall national strength, not just weapons and soldiers, is key to Taiwan's security. It said Taiwan's position in the world should be enhanced by forging relations with more nations and international organizations, for instance, and the economy should be reinforced to avoid presenting China with new opportunities for pressure.

There was no mention of any shift away from Taiwan's fundamentally defensive military strategy and cultivation of ties with the United States, which has pledged to help in the island's defense but opposes unilateral steps toward independence. As the strategy was being debated over the months, reports in Taipei, the capital, said that some of Chen's advisers had pushed for a shift to a more offensive stance. This would be based mainly on cruise missiles, the reports said, which Taiwan can produce more cheaply than buying the PAC-3 defensive missile systems proposed by the United States.

"Any kind of countermeasures would be for defense," said Michael Tsai, deputy secretary general of Chen's National Security Council. "We're not pursuing preemptive capabilities, and we will not develop nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction."

The call for a buffer zone in the Taiwan Strait echoed earlier suggestions by Chen. He said tensions could be lowered and accidental conflicts avoided if both sides' military forces and missiles -- the strategy document specified cruise missiles -- were barred from the area around Taiwan.

When proposed earlier, the idea did not draw a response from China, which has an interest in maintaining pressure on Taiwan to prevent Chen from taking further steps toward formal independence. China's official New China News Agency announced Friday, for instance, that the Chinese military recently practiced amphibious landings, the kind that would be necessary for any invasion of Taiwan.

Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. Embassy, praised Chen's government for laying out its security thinking for the public in Taiwan and abroad. Repeating a frequent demand from Washington, he called on China to do the same.

"For a democratic society like Taiwan to try and present a comprehensive explanation of its national security policy is a welcome step," he said, "and I think it is a model China should follow and learn from, because they should be more transparent on these issues themselves."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Taiwan seeks WHO observer status for 10th time

Fri May 19, 10:41 AM ET

GENEVA (AFP) - Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian sought observer status at the World Health Organization Friday for the 10th time in as many years, a request that has been systematically blocked by Beijing.

"The Taiwanese people have long been excluded from the world health system because of China's relentless and arbitrary oppression," Chen told reporters here via a video link-up from Taiwan.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a province of China, and systematically seeks to stymie any initiative by Taiwan to gain international recognition as an independent political entity.

The WHO, which begins its week-long annual assembly on Monday, "has an obligation to provide all people with the best medical services irrespective of their nationality," Chen said. "It should not sacrifice these noble ideals on the altar of brute political force."

Due to its exclusion from the WHO, Chen said, Taiwan had become a "missing link" in the global health and medical system. The native-born Taiwanese president made specific reference to the ongoing bird flu crisis and the outbreak in 2003 of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

China was widely criticized for its initial cover-up of SARS, which then spread globally to infect more than 8,000 people and kill around 800 worldwide, including 349 in China.

During the SARS outbreak, Beijing formally authorized the WHO to send a team of experts to Taiwan, but only a month and a half after the first case appeared on the island.

"The 23 million people of Taiwan are being denied their human right to health. This is completely unfair and might even be called unethical," Chen said.

Taiwan was evicted from the WHO in 1972, a year after losing its seat in the United Nations to China.

Since 1997, Taiwan has applied every year to regain an official status at the WHO, but Beijing remains opposed.

Last year, however, Beijing signed a protocol with the WHO opening the door to a technical cooperation with Taipei that would authorize the UN organization to invite experts from Taiwan to participate in joint activities.

Under the accord, the WHO can also send experts to the island to investigate epidemics or offer medical assistance.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gambia: Taiwan Donates Over US$ 0.5 Million for AU Summit

Alieu Badara Ceesay, The Daily Observer (Banjul), May 17, 2006

Dr Patrick Chang, the Taiwanese ambassador to The Gambia, yesterday presented a cheque for five hundred and fourteen thousand US dollars to Babuocarr Jatta, the Secretary of State for the Interior, to purchase 221 motobikes for the African Union Summit next month.

The cheque constituted the second payment to Taitek Electronics Limited in respect of 221 motorbikes and spare parts meant for the African Union Summit. The package also consists of motor bike mechanics to enhance the durability of the bikes.

At a ceremony held at the office of the Secretary of State for the Interior, Dr Patrick Chang reiterated the excellent relationship existing between The Gambia and Taiwan and commended President Jammeh for the good relationship.

He described the donation as significant as it aims to provide motor bikes to the policemen to use during the AU Summit so that they can fulfil their duties to protect heads of state and VIPs in ensuring that security and safety is maintained. "These donations will equally help the police to use after the AU summit so that they can fulfil their duties in maintaining the rule of law," he said, adding that "we are glad that we have such an opportunity for cooperation between the two countries".

Baboucarr Jatta, described the donation as significant to the hosting of the AU Summit, noting that it will greatly help in the provision of security during the summit. He pointed out that the motor bikes will not only be used for the summit but will be utilised for the internal security of the country and promised that the bikes will be put into good use.

Major Ousman Sonko, Inspector-General of Police, also applauded the Taiwanese government for their support to the security of the AU and the country.

Mr Momodou S.Njie, Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for the Interior, said government policies are based on justice, human rights and international cooperation and it is in the spirit of such cooperation that the Taiwanese government came to offer assistance in this initiative.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


2006-05-17 by P.C. Tang and Sofia Wu

Brussels, May 17 (CNA) The EP-Taiwan Friendship Group, a Taiwan-friendly panel in the European Parliament (EP), has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) not to discriminate against Taiwan journalists for political reasons, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Dr. Georg Jarzembowski, chairman of the EP-Taiwan Friendship Group, sent a letter to WHO Deputy Secretary-General Denis Aitken a day earlier urging the world health regulatory body not to ban Taiwan journalists from covering the news about the forthcoming annual conference of the World Health Assembly (WHA) -- the WHO's governing arm, the spokesman said.

The 2006 world Health Assembly is scheduled for May 22-27 in Geneva. Taiwan journalists have been barred from covering the WHA meeting since 2004 when the United Nations, under pressure from China, began to stipulate that only newsmen with passports or identification cards of U.N. member states or WHA observer states are eligible to enter the WHA conference hall for news coverage. Taiwan is neither a U.N. member nor a WHA observer simply because of Beijing's opposition.

Jarzembowski said in his letter that he aligns with the International Federation of Journalists in opposing the WHO's ban on Taiwan journalists from covering WHA news.

The International Federation of Journalists reiterated its opposition to the WHO's embargo against Taiwan journalists earlier this month.

Noting that the WHA is one of the world's most important health-related conferences, Jarzembowski said it should be open to all journalists, including those from Taiwan. At the conclusion of his letter, Jarzembowski urged Aitken to give a goodwill response to the European Parliament's stance on the issue. The EP is the European Union's legislative arm.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Does press freedom exist in UN?

The following is taken from the International Federation of Journalists, 10 May 2006:


Finally, the IFJ has again protested over the questionable UN policy of banning Taiwanese journalists from the UN’s Geneva venue for the annual World Health Assembly which opens on May 22. The IFJ is asking Kofi Annan to review the policy which excludes health journalists from Taiwan from reporting “on one of the world’s premier news events.” The IFJ says that the policy banning Taiwan journalists is not based upon clear resolutions of the General Assembly and appears to be politically-motivated.

“It is impossible not to conclude that this policy is political discrimination against independent, professional journalists and is unworthy of a global institution that stands for free speech and independent journalism,” says the IFJ.

The IFJ says that it fully supports its member organisation in Taiwan, the Taiwan Journalists Association, in their protests over the ban. “This is a policy that should be reviewed immediately,” says the IFJ. “On all of these issues we urge that you take steps to clarify the role and responsibility of the UN; by doing so you will maintain the credibility and standing of the UN and its role in the global fight for press freedom.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Taiwan should and must join WHO

If the goal of WHO is to improve the human's health, then it should absolutely accept Taiwan as a member. Taiwan's contribution to the world's public health is undoubtedly much more than China's. Politics should not rule over the issue of safty and health of all people in the world. Let Taiwan participate. The world will be healthier.

Viruses without passports

Tuesday, May 9, 2006, The Seattle Times

Taiwan should be admitted as an observer to the World Health Organization over the objections of China. Some other issue might be a matter of concern only to the Chinese, but infectious epidemics are of concern to everyone. Viruses carry no passports.

We would have thought China learned that in 2003 with the outbreak of SARS. In the middle of that epidemic, which killed more than 750 people worldwide, China delayed the visit of medical experts to Taiwan for more than a week. It could do that because Taiwan is considered by the WHO as a province of China under the administration of Beijing. A look at the WHO's Web page, at, shows that this fiction is still enshrined. That is not acceptable in a world that may face an epidemic of avian flu.

This Saturday, May 13, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, which is really Taiwan's consulate here, is sponsoring a run around Green Lake to support Taiwan's participation in the WHO.

The run is at 3 p.m. and starts at the Green Lake Community Center at the lake's easternmost point. The public is invited.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Taiwan's April Exports Rise to Record High

Monday May 8, 5:00 am ET

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan's exports rose faster than expected in April to a record high on strong demand for electronics goods from Hong Kong, China, the U.S. and South Korea, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement Monday.
The island's exports grew 15 percent to US$18.8 billion (euro15.0 billion) in April, higher than the average forecast of 8.9 percent in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of economists. The growth rate was also higher than March's growth rate of 7.1 percent.

Taiwan's export value in April surpassed the previous record of US$18.792 billion hit in October.

Taiwan's imports in April rose 5 percent from the same month last year to US$16.42 billion, the ministry said. That was in line with expectations and reversing March's 0.5 percent decline.

The trade figures resulted in a trade surplus in April of US$2.4 billion (euro1.9 billion).

Dell ups Taiwan buying to $12.5 bln to control costs

By Sheena Lee (Additional reporting by Baker Li)

Mon May 8, 3:05 AM ET

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Dell Inc., the world's top personal computer maker, wants to ramp up components sourcing in Taiwan by over a fifth to US$12.5 billion in 2006, its chief executive said on Monday, as global technology firms turn increasingly to the island to trim costs.

Computer and consumer electronics vendors from Japan to the United States are increasingly buying from specialized Taiwan companies such as display maker AU Optronics Corp. to hold down costs.

Indeed, Dell -- which vies with Hewlett-Packard Co. and China's Lenovo Group in a steadily expanding global personal computer market -- spent some US$10 billion on procurement in Taiwan in 2005.

Dell's Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Rollins, is visiting the island this week to outline his company's strategy to a select group of suppliers.

"Dell is stepping up its presence in Taiwan while growth has been impressive, and Dell plans to spend US$12.5 billion purchasing products in Taiwan this year to support our global business and manufacturing," Rollins told reporters.

"Growing solid partnerships in Taiwan ... will be key to our global expansion."

Taiwan is cementing its pivotal role in the global supply chain by ruthlessly slashing costs and relocating capacity to mainland China.

Cut-to the-bone production techniques employed by personal computer makers, for instance, have won them an estimated four-fifths of global contracts.

"Dell is here at a pivotal time to discuss prices with major Taiwan OEM, ODM players," said Merrill Lynch analyst Tony Tseng, referring to contract manufacturers that make products for brand-name firms such as Dell.

But analysts warn that contract manufacturers, such as laptop makers Quanta Computer Inc. and Compal Electronics, need to adopt cutting-edge designs or risk losing contracts. And a growing number of tech giants are bypassing the island altogether by setting up their own Chinese bases.

Rollins will meet executives from AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., Taiwan's two largest makers of liquid crystal displays, as well as major contract makers of laptops, the Commercial Times said.

Dell saw market share slipping in 2005 in crucial Asian markets such as China, where its share of the market slid to 8.2 percent in the third quarter versus the second quarter's 9.6 percent, although it ended the year with a 9.1 percent slice, according to consultants IDC.

In contrast, Taiwan's Acer Inc., the world's fourth-largest PC vendor, posted an 87 percent jump in first-quarter profit thanks to strong demand from Asia and North America.