Friday, November 17, 2006

US Advisory Body Tells Congress To Get Tougher With China

Wednesday, 16 November 2006

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- China isn't living up to its obligations at the World Trade Organization and is expanding its influence in ways frequently harmful to U.S. interests, a congressional advisory commission said Thursday.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission, in an annual report released Thursday, said the U.S. government needs to become tougher in insisting China carry out its promises and treaties - an area where the emerging economic and military superpower has consistently fallen short.

"China's adherence to its many WTO obligations remains spotty and halting in important areas five years after China attained membership," the commission said. "If China's willingness to honor its trade obligations is at issue, its commitment to accept its geopolitical responsibilities is even more in question, " the Commission said later in the report.

The commission, a bipartisan group appointed by Congress after it voted to grant permanent normal trade relations to China in 2000, made a list of 44 recommendations for Congress. These ranged from calls for bringing more WTO complaints against China to stronger retaliation against alleged currency manipulation, to measures to deal with what it said is a growing military threat.

The harshly worded report underscores Congress's frustration with the massive U.S. trade deficit with China and the pace of reform in China. It also reflects an exasperation that previous treaties with China on issues, like intellectual property rights enforcement and promises by Chinese leaders to rely less on exports for growth, haven't brought progress.

"In a lot of areas, China understands its obligations, and has even enacted regulations and laws recognizing those obligations...but then they ignore them," said Larry Wortzel, who was appointed by then Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and now chairman of the commission.

Carolyn Bartholomew, vice-chair of the committee, speaking to reporters along with Wortzel, said China's poor compliance calls into question the utility of making any agreements with the Chinese.

"I think for a number of years, the Chinese government has gotten away with making promises and not having to abide by them," said Bartholomew.

Over the past two years, the Bush administration has worked hard to prevent Congress from passing legislation to restrict Chinese imports, notably in retaliation for China's heavily managed currency regime. U.S. exporters complain that the yuan is undervalued against the U.S. dollar and unfairly cheapens Chinese goods.

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agreed to drop their tariff measure, which had a majority of Senate support to give U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a chance to talk with the Chinese. Paulson, like Treasury Secretary John Snow before him, argued that diplomacy is the only effective way to get China to reform its currency.

The commission recommended Congress pressure the Administration to file complaints before the WTO and the International Monetary Fund against currency manipulation. It also urged Congress to revise its law against currency manipulation to make it clear that currency pegs and prolonged currency market intervention are violations of fair trade.

Congress should also define currency manipulation and loan forgiveness as illegal export subsidies, subject to U.S. penalties against dumping and subsidies, the commission said.

Noting that China has recently accelerated the rate at which they allow the yuan to appreciate,"the progress that has been made has been woefully inadequate," Bartholomew said.

The shift to Democratic control of Congress following elections last week could make Capitol Hill more receptive to these measures, said Bartholomew, who was appointed to the commission by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"There's a whole new crop of elected leaders, many from districts where they have experienced first hand these changes" stemming from trade with China, Bartholomew said.

Neither Wortzel nor Bartholomew expressed much hope that Paulson's initiative for a "Strategic Dialogue" with China, meeting for the first time in December, would move Chinese leadership.

"All of these strategic dialogues can be very useful; they educate the Chinese leadership about U.S. concerns," said Wortzel. "But let's face it - at some point you need action."

The commission urged U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to file a WTO complaint against China for its failure to protect intellectual property rights as it has promised.

The problem is no longer confined to luxury goods and films, but is now an urgent health and safety risk with a sharp rise of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and auto parts, the commission said.

Meanwhile, China is extending its influence on other developing countries in South America and Africa to secure natural resources needed to power the economy.

"Of particular concern to the commission is China's seeming posture as a potential counterweight to the U.S., and its disposition to support volatile and repressive regimes as its client states," the commission said, adding that the most striking example of the problem is in Sudan.

"The Commission recommends that Congress urge the administration to seek direct dialogue and cooperation with China with regard to securing a resolution to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that will halt the genocide there and provide ongoing security and basic human rights for the affected population, " according to the report.

The commission also urged Congress to promote Taiwan's participation in international organizations, insist that China carry out inspections at sea of ships bound to and from North Korean ports, and toughen sanctions for nuclear proliferation by Chinese companies.

China targeting island with 900 missiles on 5 bases

Thursday, November 16, 2006, Special to World

China continues its planning to invade Taiwan and now has more than 900 missile targeted on the island, Taiwanese officials said last week.

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (by Sam Yeh/AFP)

“Despite China's impressive economic rise, it has become more authoritarian, posing a grave threat to our sovereignty and abusing human rights like never before," Taiwanese President Chen Shuibian said.

Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu also said in Taipei that China is a threat and has supported some of the world’s most notorious violators of human rights.

Chinese missiles are located in five bases in nearby Fujian Province. Additionally, China now has 11 military satellites in orbit.

Noting calls for China to remove the missiles, Chen said it would not be enough. “If China one day removed the missiles from its east coast, they could just transport them all back the next day," he said.

China also is developing cruise missiles and other weapons. “China's acquisition of long-range bombers and mid-air refuelers from Russia means that it seeks to project its military power beyond Taiwan, because Chinese fighter jets wouldn't need to refuel mid-air in a cross-strait attack,” Chen said.

Wu said China seeks to take over Taiwan because it views the island as a "stumbling block to projecting power" throughout Asia.

Wu criticized the United States for mistaking Taiwanese efforts at further democratization as steps toward formal independence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taiwan is not a province of China

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Manila Times

I am grateful for The Manila Times carrying the photo on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the “Enchanting Taiwan Photo Exhibition” and for the article accompanying it. However, I noticed that it stated that “Taiwan is a province of China with whom …” This is quite incorrect for since the “Republic of China government relocated in Taiwan in 1949 it maintains jurisdiction over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and numerous other islets. Since 1949 the sides of the Taiwan Strait have been governed as separate territories, and their different identities and cultures have diverged ever more.”

Press Division Director
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, Taiwan

Friday, November 03, 2006

Financial Times's Interview with President Chen

The following is an edited transcript of the Financial Times’ exclusive interview with Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan’s president, by Kathrin Hille, the FT’s Taipei correspondent.

Financial Times: Mr President, you recently mentioned that during the 20 remaining months of your presidency you intend to do the work of 40 months, and you also raised three policies. Could you explain in a bit more specific terms how you intend to implement these three policies: constitutional reform, joining the United Nations under the name of Taiwan, and dealing with party assets acquired under the authoritarian era?

Chen Shui-bian:
This is in line with the two big policies I have mentioned before: insisting on Taiwan identity and realising social fairness and justice. Therefore we must continue to promote three big movements. These include giving birth to a new constitution that fits Taiwan’s needs, applying for UN membership under the name of Taiwan, and have the whole people go after the assets acquired by the Kuomintang during their authoritarian rule by improper means.

These are absolutely not slogans but very important issues. This is also something which we have to continue to work on to make Taiwan a normal country. Of course some call these a “mission impossible” but I think there’s nothing impossible under the sun. If only you have ideals and goals and insist and don’t give up and try your best, everything is possible in the end.

Therefore I want to use 20 months to do the work of 40 months. This also shows our will and determination. Because in the past many things were viewed as “missions impossible” but we often made them possible within the shortest possible time.

For example, we managed to rectify the name of Chiang Kai Shek International Airport to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport within one week. …

Similarly, with regard to the termination or the abolition of the National Unification Council and guidelines, I raised this on January 29 this year in my hometown of Tainan. On February 28 I officially proclaimed the measure. That was no more than one month. …

I also remember the case of the referendums. … On the Democratic Progressive Party’s anniversary on September 28, 2003, I presented the DPP’s three wishes for 2004. One of them was we wanted to complete the first country-wide referendum. Everyone thought that was an impossible mission. … [But] from the proposal to the day when we held the referendum it was no more than six months.

Another case I can explain is on May 20, 2004 at my inaugural ceremony [when] I mentioned that I hope we could complete constitutional reform by the end of my second term in 2008, abolish the National Assembly and include referenda in the constitution.

Abolishing the National Assembly and including referenda in the constitution – that was another mission impossible! Originally I thought I would need four years and would only be able to finish this before I step down in 2008. Who would have thought that we completed these constitutional reforms on June 7 2005? The National Assembly finally went into history, and we handed the right of final approval of constitutional changes over to the people.

Now any constitutional reform proposal passed by the Legislative Yuan will only take effect after approved by the people in a referendum. For this, we also didn’t use more than a year.

No matter if one year, half a year, a month or seven days, we have made the impossible possible. So the three movements I mentioned in order to pursue Taiwan identity and social fairness and justice are absolutely possible.

FT: We observe that you have started to discuss some of the possible contents of a new constitution, including the definition of the “existing national boundaries” and the concept of a “Second Republic” constitution. Will you get even deeper involved in the discussion of the constitutional contents? So far you have only raised the question of whether these two things should be discussed. Will you start giving some answers and reveal your views on these issues?

The DPP’s party platform that was passed on October 7, 1990 mentions: Our country’s de-facto sovereignty does not extend to mainland China and outer Mongolia. The future constitutional system and domestic as well as foreign policies should be based on this factual territorial scope. So no matter if factual sovereignty or factual territory, we have already said in very clear terms that these do not include mainland China and outer Mongolia.

But according to the existing constitution, the country’s territory is defined with reference to “the existing national boundaries”. But what are the existing national boundaries?

We first thought that we could solve this through a constitutional interpretation, that means to solve it by having the constitutional court deliver a constitutional interpretation rather by amending the constitution. But what we didn’t know is that on March 28, 1993, the Constitutional Court had already ruled saying the definition of the scope of the “existing national boundaries” is a major political question and should not be explained by the highest judicial body in its capacity of interpreting the constitution.

Therefore our thought of going through the judiciary in order to avoid constitutional amendments cannot be realised.

But the problem is what [are] the existing national boundaries? Does it really include mainland China and outer Mongolia? Mainland China is currently the territory of the People’s Republic of China, and outer Mongolia is another country named Republic of Mongolia. Both are UN members. If we say our existing national boundaries extend to the territory of these two countries, wouldn’t that mean to encroach on UN members’ territory and sovereignty? This is very absurd and unrealistic. The international community would of course not accept such a thing.

Further, do the “existing national boundaries” include Taiwan? This is also very controversial. Very clearly, the Republic of China constitution says the country’s name is Republic of China, it was founded in 1912. But Taiwan became a Japanese colony as early as 1895. So when the ROC was established, it did not include Taiwan.

The “existing national boundaries” at the time the predecessor of the ROC constitution, a 1936 draft, was put together, did not include Taiwan either because Taiwan was still ruled by Japan. After the war, the San Francisco Treaty did not give Taiwan to China. So that the ROC’s “existing national boundaries” do not include Taiwan is very clear. So do we want to solve this problem? It is not in line with reality and is so controversial.

So this is a very serious issue. From the DPP’s 1990 platform until recently, many people are discussing the scope of our territory and our sovereignty. This is extremely serious, complicated, sensitive, but also extremely important.

So then somebody has proposed the concept of the “Second Republic”. Actually, the Second Republic means the current constitution would be frozen and a new Taiwan constitution would be written. Freezing the ROC constitution also means keeping some kind of a link to the ROC constitution and not cutting it off completely.

This is a very interesting idea. It deserves observation, and everyone can discuss it. That is why some people say that the Second Republic constitution’s preamble should define the territorial scope this constitution applies to, whether it includes mainland China or Mongolia, or whether is it limited to the existing territorial and sovereignty scope of Taiwan, [and its outlying islands].

Also the General Provisions of the existing constitution, including article 4 with its “existing national boundaries” are not to be touched, but address the issue in the Second Republic Taiwan constitution where it talks about its application scope. Would that work and be acceptable to everyone? I think that’s a very interesting thought.

FT: You have mentioned that you have little more than a year left in office but still have so much work left, including some “missions impossible”. So what will your role be in implementing these policies? You have said there will be “movements”. But a movement that needs to be started needs a leader. You have said the Second Republic concept is worth discussing. How will you help push this discussion and these movements?

I already mentioned a few examples - the name rectification of Chiang Kai Shek International Airport, the termination of the National Unification Guidelines and Council, the referendum issue.

This depends on everyone’s common efforts. I can lead. I can direct. I can take part in promoting. But I’m still just one person. Many things require common effort, even across party lines.

There is nothing impossible under the sun. When this becomes a trend, when the people’s power rises, when society is ripe, then many missions impossible can be accomplished, and even earlier than thought.

So I think during my remaining time in office of course I must pursue these three movements’ ideal goals. It will be very difficult but we must do the right thing and take the right path.

FT: I would like to take a look at what impact these plans will have on cross-Strait relations. When you first took office, you made the pledge of the “Five Nos”. Later, the fifth no seems to have gone missing. Most recently, you tend to prefer the pledge of not changing the status quo. So does the fact that you are no longer explicitly repeat your Five Nos pledge reflect some change in your commitments?

As far as the Five Nos are concerned – the fifth No is already gone after the termination of the National Unification Council and Guidelines. Because originally there was special staff at the Presidential Office for the NUC, this staff is now gone. The NUC’s operations ceased a long time ago, and there’s not even a budget anymore. So the fifth No is gone. Now there’s only Four Nos left.

With regard to China, I think we need to preserve the status quo and need to prevent the status quo from being changed. We think actually they are already changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. They refuse to abdicate the threat of taking Taiwan by force. They have passed the so-called Anti-Secession Law. This is how they are changing the status quo. …

China wants to poach all of our diplomatic allies, take away our international space. This is changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. Originally we still had more than 60 diplomatic allies, now the number is down to little more than 20. This has been changed, destroyed, by China.

China’s united front tactics towards Taiwan, which attempt to marginalise us, localise us, take away our sovereignty, bypass our government … these are all changing the status quo, destroying the status quo.

Taiwan is already a sovereign independent country and does absolutely not belong to the People’s Republic of China, is not a part of them, and is not a province of the PRC either. We have a government. We have jurisdiction. We have sovereignty. But they intend to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

With regard to Taiwan, under the Four Nos we pledged not to declare Taiwan independence. But Taiwan is already a sovereign country, an independent country, there’s no need to declare that.

We don’t change the national moniker. But we hope to participate in the international community under the name of Taiwan, join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan.

We don’t include the view in the constitution that Taiwan and China are separate countries. But we have already put referenda in the constitution.

We don’t hold referenda on independence or unification. But in 2004 we already held a peace referendum.

We are not breaking these commitments. But Taiwan, the 23m Taiwanese, we still want to continue to walk down our own path of democracy, of freedom, of human rights and of peace.

FT: You have explained one by one how Taiwan has not broken the Four Nos commitments. But this is all referring to the past. But what about the future? If you pledge not to change the national moniker and not to put the view that Taiwan and China are two different countries into the constitution, but at the same time start discussing a Second Republic constitution, if that is realized, won’t that violate the Four Nos?

I have already mentioned freezing the ROC constitution and establishing a Taiwan constitution would provide a certain link with the ROC constitution. Actually, under the so-called temporary provisions in the past, or now the additional articles, aren’t these are also freezing large parts of the ROC constitution? Freezing part of it or all of it, it’s all freezing. Where’s the difference? It’s all the same.

So some people say that the Second Republic started long ago and we don’t know how many republics we have had since. Under that theory, the temporary provisions in the era of Chiang Kai-shek marked the Second Republic. The era of Lee Teng-hui with its additional articles would then be the Third Republic.

FT: I would like to ask another question regarding cross-Strait relations. Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou has recently proposed to pledge not to declare independence in exchange for China not using military force against Taiwan. Although this is not new, everybody seems to be paying more attention because Mr Ma is likely to run for president in 2008. What are your comments on this proposal?

In March when he came back from the US, we had a dialogue with him. Some of his positions are very problematic. On first sight, they look attractive, but if you give it thorough thought, explain it clearly, listen attentively, then it’s all different.

Now he talks about a no-independence-no-war so-called peace agreement. In fact that’s a surrender agreement, a declaration of surrender. Because everyone knows a no-independence-no-war so-called peace agreement would not keep the status quo, it would change the status quo.

Kenneth Lieberthal, then a senior National Security Council official under US president Bill Clinton, proposed in 1998 that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait could sign a 50-year interim agreement on the basis of no-independence-no-war. He promoted this to me many times. I asked him whether this had a condition and a conclusion. He said the conclusion was that we had to accept One China, and the conclusion was ultimate unification. So I said Taiwan cannot possibly accept this. …

Later he came again and again to market the concept again. I asked him: is there change? Is there still a condition? Is there still a conclusion? He said he amended it to have neither conditions nor conclusions. Then I asked him whether China accepted it, but he said no. That is the problem.

Last year in February former President Clinton visited Taipei. I asked him about Mr Lieberthal’s proposal, whether he accepted it and whether such an interim agreement would be good for Taiwan. He told me that Taiwan can absolutely not accept this. Because time is on Taiwan’s side. Once Taiwan accepts this it’s over.

So if even Lieberthal’s boss doesn’t accept it, how can we accept it?

So now chairman Ma Ying-jeou comes up with this again with slight changes under the name of “peace agreement”.

If there’s no precondition, China cannot possibly accept this. Why will there definitely be a precondition? For example the former government, when the Kuomintang was still in power, for the sake of the 1992 Hong Kong talks [with China], came up with this National Unification Council and National Unification Guidelines. Only then were the Hong Kong talks and the 1993 Koo-Wang talks in Singapore possible. And everyone knows that these had the precondition of accepting One China and the ultimate goal of unification.

So only because these were in place, Taiwan accepted the One China Principle, accepted ultimate unification, could there be the Hong Kong talks. So if you have to accept China’s precondition and ultimate goals even just for talks, so you say for signing a peace agreement China will [do that] unconditionally? This is a very simple principle.

So if you, for the sake of a peace agreement accept their condition of one China or their ultimate goal of unification, how can that be called a peace agreement? That’s a surrender agreement. Once it’s signed, it’s over for Taiwan. Then it’s waiting to die.

No independence in exchange for no war, what is that supposed to mean? No war is a matter of course. The x-strait conflict and cross-Strait disagreements should not be solved by non-peaceful means in the first place. How could the international community accept that China uses military force against Taiwan?

Japan and the US have included the Taiwan issue into their common strategic objectives and have said the Taiwan Strait issue should be solved peacefully through dialogue. …

How can the international community accept that China wants to use military force against Taiwan? That’s why the European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for China to remove the missiles it has deployed along the coast against Taiwan. It also demands the disagreements must be solved peacefully through dialogue.

So no war is a matter of course. That’s also why the European Union cannot remove the arms embargo against China yet. How can you support a non-peaceful, non-democratic China to act with military force against a democratic, peaceful Taiwan?

And no independence? Taiwan is already independent. Taiwan is already a sovereign and independent country. No matter if you use ROC or Taiwan. Already independent. We are a country, a sovereign, independent country.

We are already independent, and you still want to make us non-independent. Isn’t that very strange? … Originally we still have sovereignty and independence, and now you don’t even want that anymore. … So you have to understand clearly and know that it is not possible. This is sporting the cloak of peace while working out a declaration of surrender.

FT: If you were to remain in power for a longer time, what would be the right kind of cross-Strait policy then? I know that you have presented many proposals on improving cross-Strait relations, but there have not been many results, partly because the other side did not respond. Over the past year, there have been some non-official exchanges, and on some practical issues there seems to be some progress, but everyone still thinks this is too little, too late, also it is completely separate from political contacts. So do you see any option for how Taiwan could communicate with China on a larger, more official scale?

We still need to be firm on our principles, but move forward pragmatically. We cannot be too anxious [to move forward] but must insist on Taiwan identity. Taiwan is absolutely not China’s tributary or border region. This point is very important, this is absolutely basic. We must not for the sake of commercial profit or the convenience of contact give up Taiwan’s separate identity. We must insist on Taiwan’s own identity, Taiwan first.

The Chinese market is very big, but you cannot define it as Taiwan’s only way out, and make it Taiwan’s only market. It is only part of Taiwan’s globalisation, and not all of it. … Many people don’t want Taiwan, don’t want Taiwan this country, they are ready to give up Taiwan’s sovereignty as a country. I think this is an extremely dangerous thing.

We must not transform ourselves into Hong Kong or Fujian. Taiwan still does not belong to the PRC. We are absolutely not their special administrative region or province. We must have a correct understanding of this point when we improve and normalize cross-Strait economic and trade relations.

FT: I would like to ask a question about domestic politics. There has been a lot of noise in recent months, and we hear a lot of news about scandals and corruption. How much damage has been done to Taiwan’s democracy and to your authority as a political leader? Can this damage be undone? Many people have started harbouring deep distrust and doubts towards the system and towards you personally. What can be done about that?

Of course much of this is due to political problems. In its transformation from authoritarianism to democracy, Taiwan can be seen as a pioneering country. I have already mentioned many times the four major challenges Taiwan faces.

The first is the split in national identity. The second is the fights between political parties, the third is the dilemma of transitional justice, the fourth is the constitutional system.

Today, apart from our own domestic problems, we have also an external threat, [China]. They don’t recognise that we have a government, so they deny our government, and deny our sovereignty. And in addition to that, actually they also completely fail to recognise the president, who is a symbol of Taiwan’s sovereignty and a representative of the government. So they also deny Taiwan’s president.

And domestically, due to the competition in the presidential election, especially in 2004 there were some political parties who did not recognise that I am their president. So this is also a denial of the president. So they use every possible means to distort and smear for the purpose of dishonouring the national leader.

Of course damage has been done. But we still think Taiwan’s transformation from authoritarianism to democracy and further on to the rule of law has been very difficult, but we also start seeing results.

If you talk about democracy, we all know that Taiwan is already democratic enough. … With don’t only have 100 per cent but 200 per cent press freedom. It is not easy to find a place with such overly free media as Taiwan. …

But the quality of Taiwan’s news media is not so good. …

But we cannot restrain press freedom because the media is not reliable enough. We still want to protect and guarantee press freedom. …

Randomly publishing incorrect information about others, judging by public debate, that’s very rare in other countries. A really advanced democratic country – for example in the US some anchors had to step down because of factual errors in reports. … In Japan a Democratic lawmaker alleged that the child of an LDP politician had accepted bribes but later these allegations were found to be untrue. Not only did that lawmaker step down but even his party’s chairman stepped down. This is responsible behaviour.

So in Taiwan, there’s no problem with press freedom and freedom of speech. But with regard to citizens’ responsibility, political responsibility, responsibility of speech and media responsibility, perhaps we still have a long way to go.

FT: My last question is directed at how you define your role in history. What are your contributions and achievements for Taiwan? Do you have any plans for a political career after 2008?

Having been able to let a … party which ruled in Taiwan more than 50 years become the opposition party, complete the change of ruling party.

I don’t dare say that’s the biggest contribution towards Taiwan, but at least we have left our trace on Taiwan’s road from authoritarianism to democracy. In the process of Taiwan’s democratisation, we have never wronged the people. So completing the first change of political party in history, make Taiwan a really democratic country at least this is absolutely something we can proudly present to the Taiwan people.

But being a democratic country is not enough. Taiwan still needs to become a country with the rule of law. Although there has been a lot of pain and even unfair treatment against me and my family, but we think that being able to bring Taiwan forward from a democracy to a rule-of-law country, where everyone is equal before the law, [that is an achievement]. Even if my family members have made some mistakes, we all have to accept the scrutiny of the country’s laws.

Sometimes I feel very ashamed and feel this is a loss of face. But isn’t this also to be cherished as signs of Taiwan’s democracy and rule of law? Thus personal liabilities become everyone’s assets. This is what we want to work on and what we want to pursue.

Separately, having been able to complete the first referendum in history, first with a referendum law and then the inclusion of referenda in the constitution. (…)

[Then there’s the ] nationalisation of the military. It’s not done with having it written in the constitution. In the past more than 6 years, we have thoroughly implemented the nationalization of the military. … If there’s chaos in parliament, that’s not scary. If there’s chaos in the media, we don’t have to worry either. What we need to worry about most and consider as most frightening is failing in the nationalization of the military. …

So in some protests in front of the Presidential office after the election in March 2004, and the recent so-called red shirt army’s sit-ins and protests, we have seen the nationalisation of our military. This is the most important force of stability for our country.

[This is where we are] different from many Southeast Asian countries, from many Latin American and African countries. This is Taiwan’s big success story. This is the pride of Taiwan’s democracy. Our military is no longer the so-called party forces, no longer the so-called personal army. The military really belongs to the people, really belongs to the country, and is loyal to the constitution, loyal to the country, loyal to this piece of land. This is how it should be.

Last but not least [ I have to mention] cross-Strait peace. Ten years ago, we directly elected our president for the first time, and the Chinese Communists launched missiles. … We elected our president again in 2000 and in 2004, but over the past six years, there has been peace across the Strait. This is a fact.

When we ran for president, our opponents said don’t elect the DPP, don’t cast your vote for A-bian. Otherwise the Chinese Communists will strike. Six years have passed, the PLA has not attacked. This is the result of everyone’s common effort. We were able to retain cross-Strait peace, cross-Strait exchanges are also the closest in history. Therefore this is also an improvement in cross-Strait relations we can absolutely present to the people. Of course many people are still not satisfied, still criticise. But I think that we can keep the cross-Strait peace, especially under DPP rule ... this is our achievement.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Taiwan keeps winning at world volleyball championships

by Hidenori Fukuo Wed Nov 1, 4:49 AM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Taiwan have continued their excellent performance in the women's event at the world volleyball championships, beating African champions Kenya for their second straight win.

The Taiwanese squad, which posted a historic first-ever win over hosts Japan on Tuesday, moved a step forward towards the next stage of the tournament with a 25-13, 25-9, 29-27 win in the six-team Pool A round robin.

"For us, every match is a challenge in this tournament. We prepared for today's match as well. It was a good experience to play against Kenya," said Taiwan's captain Chen Shu-li Wednesday.

European champions Poland, who needed four sets to beat Kenya on Tuesday, were stretched the distance before beating
South Korea, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12, to post a 2-0 record.

"We were really concentrating well throughout the fight, because we know the Korean team. We played them in the Grand Prix and we lost 2-3, so we really wanted to win today's match," said Polish captain Joanna Mirek.

Coach Klos Ireneusz said: "It's a pity we couldn't finish the match in the fourth set when we had the score 21-17. Obviously my players didn't concentrate well, but all five sets were very dramatic, so I'm very, very happy."

In other action, favourites Brazil and Russia remained unbeaten, while Serbia and Montenegro, who stunned defending champions Italy on Tuesday, did it again, beating three-time world champions Cuba 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23.

"We know only Costa Rica were ranked below us in this tournament, but nevertheless we were convinced that this was not a real picture of the situation," Serbian coach Zoran Terzic said.

"We are glad that we showed our potential against such a good team like Italy and Cuba."

Team captain Vesna Citakovic added: "I don't think we can become the world champions after only two wins, but I'm glad we came into this game with huge motivation and that we managed to win it. We played well today."

The Brazilians, who have dominated South American play in the past six years and the World Grand Prix in the past three years, outgunned Asian silver medallists Kazakhstan 25-17, 25-13, 25-16 in Pool C in Kobe.

Puerto Rico notched its first win, beating Cameroon 25-17, 25-23, 25-20.

Sydney and Athens Olympic silver medallists Russia prevailed over Azerbaijan in four sets, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, while Germany outplayed Mexico 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 in Pool B in Sapporo.

In Pool D in Nagoya with Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey defeated two-time former African champions Egypt, 25-11, 25-12, 25-8.

Brazil, Russia, Germany and Serbia and Montenegro all have 2-0 records, with the top four teams from each group advancing to the second stage.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


2006-06-22 by Elizabeth Hsu

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Taiwan's first rice-trading center was inaugurated and began its first day of operations Thursday at the Agriculture and Food Agency's (AFA) southern regional office in Tainan City.

Trading at the new facility will emphasize the quality and safety of rice, instead of the weight -- the traditional way of rice-trading on the island, AFA Director-General Huang Yu-tsai said in his address at the inauguration ceremony.

Weight has been key, or sometimes the only reference for traders to buy crops from growers, while the government guarantees the price of NT$21 per kilogram of rice as part of efforts to maintain a stable rice market, Huang explained.

However, at the new rice-trading center, more information including type of rice strain, name of grower and safety guarantees will be available for traders' reference.

Huang said he expects quality-oriented rice trading to replace that of weight-oriented trade.

A rice farmer participating in Thursday's opening expressed support for the rice center's establishment, a venue where he said he had gained a profit twice that of the production area.

The center is the first of four such planned facilities by the Council of Agriculture, with others to be constructed in Taiwan's northern, central and eastern regions, respectively.

Trading at the southern regional rice center will be conducted once every two weeks, with each grower obliged to auction at least 30 tons of rice, while the bidder has to purchase at least five tons of rice per bid, according to the Tainan center.

On the center's first day of operations, a total of 13 trading transactions were completed, with "dream beauty" rice grown in Houpi Township, Tainan County, selling at the day's highest price -- NT$160,000 per ton -- or three times that of other brands of high-quality rice on the market.

According to the AFA, "dream beauty" is a crop of rice bred under a contract of Japanese traders. The rice will be exported to Japan in July and marketed there in small packages.

It is rare to see rice exported to Japan in small packages from other rice-producing countries, AFA officials noted.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Taipei, June 18 by Deborah Kuo, CNA

Taiwan's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed South Korea's by over US$6,000 in 2003 based on purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustments, Taiwan's top economic planner said Sunday.

Hu Sheng-cheng, chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) , said Taiwan's PPP-adjusted per capita GDP for 2003 was US$24,558, surpassing South Korea's US$17,900, indicating that Taiwanese people enjoyed a higher living standard than South Koreans.

Noting that major international economic institutions use PPP to measure a country's per capita GDP, Hu said the measure, which excludes inflation and currency fluctuation rates, more accurately gauges a country's per capita national income and general living standards.

Quoting statistics compiled by the Swiss International Institute of Management and Development, Hu said Taiwan's PPP-adjusted per capita GDP reached US$24,676 in 2004, ahead of South Korea's US$18,686.

Due to the "time lag" in compiling PPP-adjusted measures, no data is available to make a comparison for the year 2005, he said.

Hu acknowledged that South Korea is a respectable competitor judging from its robust economic development and brilliant trade performance. However, he said he disagrees with those academics who complain that Taiwan has lagged behind South Korea in economic growth in the last two years.

Chu Yun-peng, head of the National Central University's Taiwan Economic Development Research Center, said recently that "South Korea has emerged as the second largest source of Taiwan's trade deficit after Japan. I'm not surprised by its overtaking Taiwan in terms of per capita GDP in 2005. With South Korea's towering ambition, I think that country is likely to surpass Taiwan even in terms of PPP-adjusted per capita GDP in the near future."

Chu also said that Taiwan's government should not become complacent by accepting moderate growth and should map out a forward-looking economic development policy to accelerate growth.

According to recent statistics issued by the Bank of Korea, South Korea's economic growth rate was estimated at 4 percent for 2005, slightly lower than the 4.7 percent registered in 2004. Nevertheless, its per capita GDP reached US$16,291, marking an impressive 14.8 percent year-on-year increase.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's per capita GDP amounted to US$15,271 for 2005, up 7 percent from the previous year's level. By comparison, Taiwan went from leading South Korea by US$100 in per capita GDP in 2004 to trailing it by US$1,020 in 2005.

Hu attributed this mainly to the greater appreciation of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar, which rose 11.8 percent against the greenback while the new Taiwan dollar only rose 3.9 percent during the same period.

Hu said currency exchange rate changes have nothing to do with a country's competitiveness and only reflect international capital movements during a specific period. Therefore, he said, it might be too early to conclude that Taiwan has fallen behind South Korea. "It is unfair to say that the government has failed in efforts to rev up Taiwan's economy simply because one set of figures show South Korea surpassing Taiwan in per capita GDP for one single year, " Hu argued.

Friday, June 16, 2006

German Publisher Debuts Travel Guide To Taiwan

BERLIN, June 16 Asia Pulse (CNA)

A leading travel publisher in Germany, Polyglott Tours & Travel AG, published a new guidebook this month that is considered the most useful and detailed German-language source of information for traveling in Taiwan.

The 106-page color travel guide contains comprehensive summaries of Taiwan's history, culture and politics, while recommending four key tours in the island's northern, central, southern, and eastern regions, and covering 12 major sightseeing attractions including the capital city of Taipei, the wood sculpture township of Sanyi and Kenting National Park.

The guide also provides detailed information about special folk traditions and cultural life in Taiwan, such as the night markets, hot springs, tea ceremony, local religion and traditional puppet shows.

The author, Guenter Whittome, also reminds his readers -- would-be travelers to Taiwan -- of the existence of many cultural differences, such as the custom of not leaving chopsticks upright in bowls or the acceptability of making lip-smacking noises while dining.

For instance, Whittome notes in his new book that most Taiwanese are not accustomed to paying the check separately while dining with friends because one of them will "fight to pay."

Whittome, who holds a degree in Sinology from Hamburg University, said in an interview with CNA Wednesday that to refresh the German media's outdated image of Taiwan, he spent more than half a year writing the guidebook hoping his compatriots would better understand modern Taiwan and how its culture differs from China's.

Whittome has resided in Taiwan for three years, and is currently working as a translator in Taipei.

Taiwan's Tourism Bureau in Frankfurt has ordered 10,000 copies of the book to send free copies to Europeans who are preparing to travel to Taiwan, office director Chan Wei-ting said.

The new Taiwan guidebook is expected to be on shelves of bookstores around Germany and German-speaking countries including Austria and Switzerland, according to Polyglott.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ukraine Completes WTO Talks With Taiwan

GENEVA, June 15, CNA

Ukraine has completed bilateral talks with Taiwan to pave the way for the Eastern European country's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a Ukraine official said Thursday.

The announcement was made by Valeriy Pyatnytskiy, deputy minister of economy of Ukraine, while reporting to a WTO working group considering Ukraine's application on WTO entry.

A total of 50 WTO member nations have requested talks with Ukraine, and Taiwan is the 49th country that has completed talks with the Eastern European state.

Three rounds of bilateral talks have been held between Taiwan and Ukraine. In addition to economic and trade issues, Taiwan has expressed concern during the talks over the Ukrainian government's rejection of ROC passports printed with the word "Taiwan" on their cover. Ukraine has dealt with the problem at the request of Taiwan.

According to official statistics from Taiwan, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Ukraine was valued at US$257 million in 2005, down 41 per cent from the year-earlier level, with Taiwan posting a trade deficit of US$12 million with the country.

Imports to Taiwan from Ukraine amounted to US$135 million, down 60 per cent over the previous year, while exports to Ukraine amounted to US$123 million, up 28.41 per cent over the previous year.

During the first three months of 2006, exports from Taiwan to Ukraine increased significantly from US$15.2 million to US$31.93 million, marking an increase of 108 per cent.

Taiwan's exports to Ukraine are mainly machinery, textiles, consumer electronic products and consumer products. Major imports from Ukraine include aluminium, iron, steel, zinc and cotton.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Taiwan To Sign Free Trade Pact With Nicaragua

Taipei, June 14 by Sofia Wu, CNA

Taiwan will sign a free trade agreement with Nicaragua June 16 to further boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, government officials said Wednesday.

Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Ing-san and his Nicaraguan counterpart, Alejandro Jose Arguello Choiseul, will sign the agreement in Taipei on behalf of their governments. Arguello will travel to Taipei for the event.

The new agreement is set to take effect at the beginning of next year, the officials said.

The two countries completed free trade pact negotiations earlier this year. Nicaragua, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America, will be the third country to sign a free trade accord with Taiwan, after Panama and Guatemala.

Two-way trade between the two countries totaled US$46.27 million in 2005, marking a 5.2 percent year-on-year growth and leaving a US$33.06 million trade surplus in Taiwan's favor.

Major Taiwan exports include textiles, kitchenware and plastic products, while imports from Nicaragua include frozen beef, coffee, timber and scrap metals.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Taipei, June 13 by Elisa Kao, CNA

President Chen Shui-bian said Tuesday that Taiwan will help Sao Tome and Principe fight malaria and cholera, using its successful experiences in fighting the diseases.

Chen made the remarks while meeting with Sao Tome and Principe Deputy Primer Minister and Minister of Planning and Finance Maria Torres, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Carlos Gustavo, and its Ambassador to the United States Ovidio Manuel Barbosa Pequeno.

During the meeting, Chen extended his congratulations to the coalition backed by Sao Tome and Principe President Fradique de Menezes for winning a parliamentary election held March 26, and wished the African diplomatic ally successful local and presidential elections to be held July 9 and July 30, respectively.

Hailing Torres as an outstanding financial and economic expert as well as an influential Cabinet member, Chen said both he and De Menezes have paid much attention to the rights of women and hope that women can have better career opportunities, citing the example of Taiwan, where the vice president and deputy prime minister are women.

De Menezes made his fourth visit to Taiwan last November, when his country was hit by cholera.

After discussing the situation in his country with Chen, Taiwan offered to provide US$100,000 to Sao Tome and Principe in emergency relief funds, and sent a medical team to control the epidemic.

Chen said with its epidemic-fighting experience, Taiwan is glad to help Sao Tome and Principe eliminate malaria and cholera.

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.