Thursday, May 31, 2007


Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Resolutions to a substantial number of industry issues were reached in discussions between the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) and the government, although little progress was made on cross- Taiwan Strait issues, the ECCT announced Wednesday.

"In all, around a dozen issues were conclusively resolved, while over 40 other issues were either close to being resolved or substantial progress had been made toward achieving workable solutions that were acceptable to both the government and the ECCT, " said ECCT Chairman Ralf Scheller after a series of meetings hosted by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) that discussed around 150 issues that were raised in the ECCT's 2006-2007 Position Papers.

Normalization of cross-strait business relations, which the ECCT views as essential to Taiwan's future economic prosperity, however, was among a number of unresolved issues, ECCT officials said, noting that around 2,300 items remain on list of banned items for import into Taiwan from China.

The organization also pointed out that Taiwan is still not in compliance with a number of its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and said excessive regulation is hampering the development of the economy, especially in the service industry.

One of the good signs of the discussions is that some long-standing issues facing the automotive, retail and transportation industries were resolved. In addition, the ECCT recognized that the government has been instrumental in urging various ministries and departments to work harder to improve the business environment.

The ECCT released its 2006-2007 Position Papers in October 2006, stating that normalizing Taiwan's economic relations with China is crucial to Taiwan's future prosperity.


Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Young businessmen from various Asian countries attended an Asia-Pacific city conference Wednesday for discussions on the theme of "peace, the environment and the economy.

Representatives from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and the Philippines attended the Asian Pacific International City Conference (APICC), organized by Junior Chamber International (JCI).

The discussion centered around the topics of urban youth policy, reusable energy and employment creation in the 21st Century, seeking to exchange experiences of various Asian cities and present ideas and solutions for governments from the perspective of young businessmen, said Peter Pan, chairman of the APICC Special Committee.

The creativity and energy of the younger generation is an integral contribution to the development of any great city and a great city also helps young people develop their ideas, said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin.

Three keynote speeches were delivered at the one-day conference, by Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen, Legislator Tien Chiu-chin and Dickens Chen, secretary-general of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Taipei, May 29 (CNA) A country-wide employment service program to help foreign spouses find jobs was launched by the Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) Tuesday in Taipei.

The program will be held all over Taiwan to help foreign spouses married to veterans to find jobs, said VAC Minister Hu Cheng-pu, who added that it provides services such as free counseling, employment matchmaking and career-planning classes.

The VAC, which is in charge of the affairs and welfare of military veterans, has now expanded its service to veterans' family members, Hu said.

According to VAC statistics, more than 31,000 veterans are married to foreign spouses. The number accounts for more than 12 percent of the foreign spouses in the country, of whom more than 85 percent come from China.

As most of the foreign spouses of veterans are middle aged or elderly, they are underprivileged and are at a disadvantage in the human resources market, which is why they need help from a government agency, Hu said.

In 2006, 5,253 veterans and members of their family were employed with the help of the VAC service program.


Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Taiwanese people should understand Tibet more and show more compassion to the region that like Taiwan has also been oppressed by China for decades, a civic group said Tuesday.

The people of Taiwan can do more than just participate in a prayer day and a march from 228 Memorial Park to Ximending June 3, said a Taiwan Tibet Exchange Association (TTEF) researcher who preferred to remain anonymous.

TTEF is the main organizer of "The Prayer Day for World Peace and Human Rights in Tibet, " a serial multinational event that was launched in Bangkok, Thailand May 27 and includes stops in Cambodia, Taiwan, Japan, India and Mongolia.

"One thing we can learn from Tibet is that, as much oppression as Taiwan had experienced from China, there have been many minority people in China suffering from the same oppression, " the researcher said.

"We should feel fortunate for our economic prosperity and political development in Taiwan. We can elect our own national leader. These are things that the Tibetans don't have, " she said.

"And the Tibetans haven't given up on fighting for freedom and independence. Some overseas Tibetan refugees could have been living luxurious lives in the West, given their financial status and educational background, but they are still devoting all their energy and life to the movement, " she claimed.

"That kind of effort and persistence should be recognized by the people of Taiwan and deserves our attention and support, " she added.

Taiwanese should also show the sympathy and empathy to Tibet from the perspective of human rights, because the Chinese government has not restrained its cultural, economic, political and religious control and oppression of Tibet 40 years after the Cultural Revolution, she said.

Other civic groups and volunteers in Taiwan have started taking action to help Tibet, such as the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund, she said.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Taiwan-born pitcher Wang Chien-ming, who plays for the New York Yankees in the U.S. Major League, will be featured on U.S. sports channel ESPN in mid-June in two clips that introduce Wang's baseball career as well as promoting Taiwan tourist attractions, ESPN Taiwan announced Monday.

ESPN will air the two two-minute clips under the title "Wang Chien-ming: Taiwan's Glory" in North America. A complete 10-clip series will be broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday in Taiwan starting May 29, ESPN Taiwan said.

The feature, which contains interviews with Wang, his coaches and teammates in Taiwan and the Yankees, will be aired during "Baseball Tonight, " one of the most popular baseball programs in North America, ESPN Taiwan Vice General Manager Jiang Yi-fang said.

Wang, who had a brilliant second season with the Yankees last year with 19 wins and 4 losses and ranked second in American League Cy Young award voting, tells how he first started playing in elementary school by "accident" and described his experience as a batboy during professional baseball games played in his hometown of Tainan as a junior high school student.

Coaches and teammates of Wang's early career also talk about Wang's persistence and hard work.

U.S. viewers will also be able to see many tourist attractions in Taiwan, such as the 101 building and nightmarkets, making the NT$ 10 million project sponsored by the Tourism Bureau worthwhile, according to Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai.

Around 92.28 million households in the U.S. are expected to watch the clips, she said.


Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Yonaguni Island of Japan's Okinawa Prefecture will set up a branch office in the eastern Taiwan city of Hualien Tuesday with the goal of improving the island's ties with its sister city on all fronts and facilitating more cooperation, Yonaguni city officials said Monday in a press conference in Taipei.

Yonaguni Island, Japan's westernmost point at the end of the Ryukyu Islands chain, lies only 111 km east of Hualien and had extensive exchanges with Hualien before World War II. As Taiwan was no longer a Japan territory after the war, exchanges between both sides became limited.

It became the first Japanese city and the second Japanese local government to set up a branch office in Taiwan, following Okinawa Prefecture, which has established an office in Taipei City.

"As an outlying island, we have been dealing with difficulties in local development for many years. Japan has entered an age of `decentralization' as each local autonomy is required to develop identity, self governance and creativity for its own prosperity, " Yonaguni Mayor Hokama Syukichi said.

Hokama said Yonaguni seeks to boost its cooperation with Hualien due to their proximity.

Hokama led a delegation including City Council Speaker Sakihara Sonkichi, Deputy Speaker Maenisihara Takezou, three councilors and office staff that will attend the inauguration ceremony Tuesday.

Hokama and Hualien Mayor Tsai Chi-ta signed a cooperation agreement in October last year in which both sides agreed to collaborate on economic exchanges, tourism promotion and emergency relief. The most important aspect for the 1,700 residents of the island will be direct flights, shipping lines and fishing cooperation, Hokama said.

"On sunny days, you can see Taiwan's coastline from Yonaguni Island, " said Ma Chuan-sheng, an 82-year-old Hualien native who volunteered to help with the exchange project. By improving mutual cooperation, Ma said, Yonaguni residents will be able to check into hospitals in Hualien in emergencies.

In April 2005, the Yonaguni city council passed a resolution stating that the island sought to devote itself to its own development by more cooperation with neighboring countries such as Taiwan.

Later, when its plan to set up a "national border exchange special zone" was rejected by the Japanese government, more radical solutions were discussed by locals, including declaring independence, pushing the island into the limelight.

The Japanese government has since softened its stance by agreeing to provide needed help in the exchange project, Hokama added.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Taipei, May 26 (CNA) With a new mixed electoral system being adopted in Taiwan's forthcoming legislative election, Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jing-pyng and academia from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea offered various views on the system in a symposium Saturday.

The impact of the new system remain to be seen, but the election reform has been the consensus of all parties and there is no turning back, said Wang in "International Symposium on Mixed Electoral Systems in East Asia, " which was organized by Election Study Center of National Chengchi University.

It is sometimes difficult -- and not too difficult at the same time -- to imagine what a different electoral system would impact the political scene, said Yoshiaki Kobayashi, a professor at Japan's Keio University, in a keynote speech.

Citing the U.S. 2000 presidential election as an example, Kobayashi said that if Al Gore, who garnered more popular votes but less electoral votes than the eventual winner George Bush, was elected the U.S. president, a reasonable speculation was that the world political scene and the way U.S. countered terrorism after the 911
attack would have been different.

The new "single-member districts, two vote system" is expected to change the legislative "ecology" and possibly Taiwan's politics, although there is no telling that it will be a change of good or bad, Wang said.

It is generally agreed that the mixed electoral system Japan and Taiwan adopted favors a two-party politics and will facilitate political debate, said Kobayashi, who also serves as the president of Japan Political Science Association.

However, 10 years after Japan adopted the new system, the results have been mixed as some legislators didn't think the mixed voting system helpful, Kobayashi said.

"One thing is sure after the system change, which is that the legislators have to spend more time in their respective district because that is where the votes came from, " Wang said.

Spending more time in local districts is both good and bad, Wang elaborated, as attendance record of legislators may drop dramatically in future legislative session.

Professors from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea submitted theses in the one-day symposium and discussed on a wide range of issues including the impact of electoral system change, the review of Taiwan's redistricting, changes and continuity in voting behavior after the electoral system change.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Taipei, May 24 (CNA) A pro-independence Taiwanese writer claimed Thursday that the general pessimism held by many Taiwanese on Taiwan's future is "unnecessary" and 2008 will be an important year for Taiwan as well as for many other countries around the globe.

"Overall, Taiwan is not doing as badly as some local media have described and China is not doing as well as they have said. There is no need to panic and be pessimistic about Taiwan's future, " claimed Ko Bunyu, a Taiwanese writer who is also known as Huang Wen-hsiung and lives in Japan.

Ko addressed his views of Taiwan's future in a three-stage rationale: 2008; 5-10 years after that; and 30-100 years after that . In his view, 2008 will be a year of big changes not only for Taiwan but also for many other countries.

"There will be a legislative election at the end of this year and the presidential election next year in Taiwan. In South Korea, the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held -- in reverse order compared to Taiwan -- in 2008. Japan will hold a senate election and the U.S. will elect its next president in 2008. And of course, the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be held in China, " Ko said.

In addition, a proposal has been submitted in the European Union that seeks to elect an E.U. president in 2009, Ko added.

"In other words, from 2008 to 2009 we will be seeing a lot of new leaders in many countries and a possible new world order and landscape. The implications of this phenomenon for Taiwan are worthy of observation, " he said.

Looking ahead to the near future of 5-10 years, Ko said the U.S. will still be the most influential country to Taiwan simply because, in addition to the long history and partnership between two countries, the U.S. accounts for 25 percent of the world economy and its military budget takes up 48 percent of the global military

Ko, who has written a number of controversial books and is known for his anti-China stance, also used various statistics to back his claim that China's rise is not as powerful and threatening as people think.

The Tokyo-based writer made the remark at a book promotion event.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Taipei, May 22 (CNA) Taiwanese businessmen and the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) are among "four threats" to Taiwan-U.S.-China relations, an ex-U.S. official said in a forum Tuesday.

The People's Republic of China, the international community and the U.S.'s use of the phrase "one China, " Taiwanese businessmen and the KMT are four threats to Taiwan-U.S.-China relations, according to Bruce Herschensohn, a political commentator who served as deputy special assistant to disgraced former President Richard Nixon.

Herschensohn also suggested when he met President Chen Shui-bian Tuesday that Oct. 25 should be a national holiday "celebrating Taiwan's independence" because Taiwan gave up its seat in the United Nations Oct. 25, 1971.

With so much trade being done with China, it seems the majority of Taiwanese businessmen lean toward maintaining the status quo, he pointed out, adding that people are reluctant to discuss Taiwan independence due to the fear of going to war.

"Taiwan is at risk for not being independent, " he claimed, saying that Taiwan has to depend on outside help and that businessmen cannot keep their businesses from potential risk.

As for the KMT, he said that from listening to KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou and other KMT politicians, "you can always feel China in the background." An even more confusing fact is that the KMT did not participate in a rally against China's "anti-secession law" rally in March 2005, while less than a week later, KMT honorary Chairman Lien Chan visited China.

China is obviously a threat, but being moderate to a country that deploys more than 900 missiles against Taiwan is even more dangerous thinking, Herschensohn added while questioned "some people's" attitudes toward China.

He also said he does not oppose the "one China" phrase but "at the same time, there's also one Taiwan and one Australia" and Taiwan has never been under the control of the PRC.

Herschensohn said that since Taiwan will not be recognized in the U.N. after so many failed bids, it might as well "take the opposite course" and do what it thinks is the right thing to do.

Herschensohn, Pepperdine University Vice Chancellor Michael Wardner and senior advisor to President Chen Shui-bian Wu Li-pei were the three major participants in a forum titled "U.S.-Taiwan Relations Retrospective and Prospects" organized by the pro-independence Taiwan Thinktank.


Taipei, May 22 (CNA) An "Encyclopedia of Taiwan" project, which seeks to publish the first encyclopedia about Taiwan and eventually become a "Taiwanese version" of Encyclopedia Britannica, was officially launched Tuesday, a publisher and the Council of Cultural Affairs (CCA) announced in a press conference.

The structure of the encyclopedia is expected to be laid out within the first six months and the first six volumes will be completed in two years in the first phase of the project, said Wang Jung-wen, chairman of the YLib Group.

"The compilation of an encyclopedia is a national project. It will cost billions of dollars and will require huge manpower resources and great help from academia. Hopefully, we can show the readers the variety and identity of Taiwan with the completion of this project," Wang said.

"We wish to use the Korean edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica as an example, as it has the requisite regional angle," said Iris Du, executive director of the project.

Lee Yuan-tseh, a Nobel laureate and former director of Academia Sinica, has accepted the offer to preside over a committee of hundreds of professors from universities and institutions that will oversee the editing of the encyclopedia.

The second stage of the project will be to present a global view from a Taiwanese perspective as well as to interpret Taiwanese culture and serve as a platform for the overall knowledge base in Taiwan, Du said.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Taipei, May 21 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Monday that his "four imperatives and one non-issue" dictum does not contravene his "four noes plus one" pledge and that he has always been consistent.

Speaking in a 30-minute interview with Channel NewsAsia, a Singapore state-owned television station, Chen elaborated on a wide range of issues, including his policy toward China, the U.S. and Japan, the consistency of his policies, the 2008 Beijing Olympic relay route and Frank Hsieh winning the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential primary.

"I have always remained consistent. The Chen Shui-bian of 2000, of 2004, and of 2007 are all the same Chen Shui-bian. I have not changed. Regardless of whether it's my policies toward China, toward the building and promoting of our relationship with the United States, or other issues, there has been no change, " he said.

Chen said the imperative of independence lies on the fact that "the vast majority of Taiwan's people are very clear on, support staunchly, and desire to defend the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign independent nation."

As for the imperative of changing the country's name, Chen said that "we have not changed the national title, but merely wish to use the name `Taiwan' in the international arena."

On the issue of a new constitution, he said that "Taiwan needs a new constitution because the existing one is out of date, unsuitable, and inapplicable. Despite numerous revisions, our people are still unsatisfied. In order for the nation to achieve long-term stability and sound governance, and to improve our international competitiveness, we must proceed with the constitutional re-engineering process."

He also said that speculation on why security in the Taiwan Strait was not listed among the common strategic objectives of the recent U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Meeting was unnecessary and that it was not the first time the issue was ignored.

"The U.S. and Japanese governments have explained that their policies toward Taiwan have not changed, nor has there been any change in their policies toward the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The United States is still bound by the Taiwan Relations Act, and is still obligated by that law to help Taiwan defend itself. The United States and Japan have a security treaty that, like a Japanese law concerning its surrounding region, cites Taiwan as a focus of concern, " he said.

Channel NewsAsia interviewed Chen in Taipei May 9 and broadcast the interview Monday. It marked the first time since 1999 that Singapore's state-owned television station has interviewed Taiwan's president.


Taipei, May 21 (CNA) Russian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, the youngest pianist to win three major international piano competitions, will perform a second solo recital in Taiwan Wednesday, the concert organizer said Monday.

Gavrylyuk by the age of 23 had won top prizes in three of the most prestigious international competitions: the Arthur Rubinstein 11th Piano Master Competition in 2005; the 4th Hammamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan in 2000; and the 3rd Horowitz International Piano Competition in Ukraine in 1999.

Born in Ukraine in 1984, Gavrylyuk began playing at the age of seven and decided at the age of nine that he wanted to be a professional, for which he received support from his folk musician parents.

"Taiwan has been a special place for me. And I will be glad to feel the passion of Taiwanese audience again after six years, " said Gavrylyuk, who arrived in Taipei Monday.

Responding to a media question about his playing style, Gavrylyuk said his job "is always try to remind the audience about the true beauty of life and always be sincere to the stage" because "deep inside, people are very similar."

"Most of all, I try not to stand in the way of music, " he said.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Frank Hsieh, who is almost certain to be named the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after a landslide primary victory May 6, is the favorite to win the 2008 presidential election, scholars said in a forum Saturday.

"If you ask me today, I think Frank Hsieh has the edge over main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou, " Byron Weng, a professor at National Chi Nan University, said in a seasonal forum titled "Presidential Election and Domestic Politcs, " which was organized by the Taiwan Thinktank to provide foreign representatives with timely interpretations of Taiwan's politics.

Hsieh has been tested during the DPP primary by his own party members and the media, Weng said. While Hsieh delivered many things to Kaohsiung while serving as mayor of the southern port city, Ma's political career has paled in comparison, according to Weng.

"Hsieh is already immune. He is ready, having rehearsed all the tough questions, " said Michael Hsiao, executive director of Academia Sinica's Center for Asia Pacific Area Studies. As for foreign policy, Hsiao said "everyone knows Hsieh's stance, and most international observers have the impression that he is not a radical politician, which is a big plus for him."

"Ma should be prepared to answer the hard questions that he hasn't answered yet, " Hsiao continued, referring to Ma's position on cross-strait relations and his "ultimate unification" rhetoric.

"The fact that the DPP was able to immediately unite after the party's presidential primary also counts for something in Hsieh's favor," Weng said.

On the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, Hsiao told foreign representatives that he believes that if the "pan-blue alliance" wins the legislative elections later this year, Hsieh has a better chance of winning the 2008 presidential election because of the "compensation effect."

"But if the DPP pulls off a victory in the legislative elections, it will win again in the presidential election because of the momentum," Hsiao said.

However, it's also possible that the candidates of both sides are replaced because of the verdicts in court cases in which they are involved, said David Huang, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica.

"We can't rule out the possibility of 'two-in-one elections, ' meaning the holding of the legislative and presidential elections simultaneously, which more and more people are advocating, " said forum moderator Lo Chih-cheng, chairman of Soochow University's Department of Political Science.

More than 15 foreign representatives in Taiwan attended the two-hour forum.


Taipei, May 19 (CNA) There is no denying that Taiwan has a national identity problem, and the problem is not a vague or tiring issue in the 2008 presidential election, academia said in a forum Saturday.

"The national identity problem is not vague. It's real in everyday life. It's involved in almost every facet of our national policy -- economy, trade, investment, and national defense, to name a few, " said Michael Hsiao, executive director of Academia Sinica's Center for Asia Pacific Area Studies.

Hsiao presented his argument while answering a question by a foreign representative in a seasonal forum titled "Presidential Election and Domestic Politics, " which was organized by Taiwan Thinktank to provide foreign representatives with timely interpretations of Taiwan's politics.

The representative, one of more than a dozen foreign representatives who attended the forum, wondered whether people of Taiwan want to see a more concrete and practical platform from the presidential candidates and parties because the issue has been brought up time and time again in past elections.

"The problem of identity is not identity alone, it includes everything, " Hsiao concluded.

"Sometimes, it may look like national identity is the only issue in Taiwan's election campaign. It is, however, the unique situation Taiwan has been in, " said David Huang, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica who once served as vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

The reason why national identity has been the primary focus in Taiwan's elections is partly due to the fact that the campaign agenda was set up by politicians and the media, and not the voters, Huang said.

"Whenever China said something or the Taiwan government did something, it hit the front pages of newspapers the next day, " he added.

Voters look for "information shortcuts" to compare candidates' agendas with their own, while political parties and candidates try to mobilize voters with simple and clear "symbols, " making national identity "one of the most efficient catalysts in any election," Huang said.

More than 15 foreign representatives in Taiwan attended the two-hour forum.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The United States understands China wants to squeeze Taiwan out of the international arena, but Taiwan should keep pushing for its own international space, an ex-U.S. official visiting Taiwan said Friday while commenting on Taiwan's failed World Health Organization (WHO) membership bid.

China has been trying to crowd out Taiwan internationally and "friends of Taiwan should actively make sure that won't happen again, " said Richard Williamson, who has served as ambassador and U.S. representative to te United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Williamson, who was a White House assistant during the Reagan administration, also said he does not expect the new U.S. government in 2008 to change its policy on cross-Taiwan Strait issues because "Taiwan and the U.S. share the same enduring values."

Two principles that the U.S. will never change are that the U.S. insists on maintaining the status quo and stability of the Taiwan Strait and that the people of Taiwan should be able to freely determine their own future, said Williamson, who is in the middle of his sixth trip to Taiwan, his first since 1997.

Answering a media question on whether the U.S. could show more support to Taiwan on entering international organizations such as the WHO, Williamson claimed that the war on terror, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have all "sucked the energy out" of the U.S. and the other superpowers.

However, "in the long term, the U.S. can't lose sight of an important friend, its important commitment and Taiwan Strait being a potential dangerous spot, " Williamson said.

The U.S. will "respect the strategy" of the Taiwan government if it submits the same proposal of a U.N. bid under the name of "Taiwan" next September, Williamson said, adding that Taiwan should keep talking to its friends and allies between now and September.

Taiwan needs to reach a consensus between the various parties because "any chance of success requires broad domestic support, " he added.


Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The first double amputee to scale Mount Everest arrived in Taiwan for a two-day visit Friday to send out his message to the handicapped that everyone is able to accomplish beyond one's limits if he is determined to do so.

Mark Inglis, a 47-year-old New Zealander who lost both legs 25 years ago, reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, May 15 last year. His Everest expedition was filmed for the Discovery series "Everest: Beyond the Limit."

"I can't describe how fantastic the experience was. I was very lucky, " Inglis said in the premiere ceremony of the six-part series, which documented the 40-day expedition.

"I came to realize that the only thing I lost was two legs, but I had an opportunity to live a different life, " said Inglis, who is now a motivational speaker.

Inglis was stuck in an ice cave in an intense blizzard for 14 days on Mount Cook in New Zealand in 1982 and lost both legs below the knee to frostbite. He went back to conquer the mountain, reaching the summit in 2002, and later started planning the Everest climb by training for the whole of 2005.

Inglis also met a group of Taiwanese athletes who will participate in the 2009 Deaflympics, to be hosted by Taipei City, and encouraged them to never give up. Inglis was a torch carrier in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and won a silver medal for cycling in the Sydney Paralympics.

Inglis is scheduled to attend a seminar at the Taipei International Convention Center Saturday. An interactive exhibition on his Everest expedition will be displayed in the plaza of the Eslite Bookstore Xinyi Branch from May 18-June 15.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Taipei, May 17 (CNA) A documentary in tribute of a U.S. engineer who made great contributions to the reconstruction and economic development of Taiwan during the early post-war years premiered in Taipei Thursday, bringing back memories of the 1950s.

The 60-minute documentary titled "Valery S. de Beausset and U.S. Aid to Taiwan, " is dedicated to de Beausset, who worked for J.G. White Engineering Corp. and served as both distributor and advisor for U.S. aid from 1950 - 1957 and was instrumental in drawing up a list of priorities for granting American aid.

J.G. White Corp. was the U.S. contractor that oversaw U.S. aid, which amounted to approximately US$ 1.48 billion from 1951-1965 with an annual average of US$ 100 million, under the authorization of the U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration (EAC) and Taiwan's Council on U.S. Aid (CUSA).

During his stay in Taiwan, De Beausset, who is now 92 and lives in Michigan, helped with the reconstruction of Taiwan's transportation system and the restoration of the productivity of Taiwan's national industries. He was directly involved with projects to expand electrical power dams, the reconstruction of the rail network, the constructions of harbors and airports, and gave advice on the development of more than 30 industrial enterprises.

"Taiwan once again plays an important part of our lives at this old age, " Lee-Tai de Beausset, one of two daughters representing the de Beausset family in the premier, read from a letter written by her 85-year-old mother Connie de Beausset, who also described her nine years in Taiwan as "the most exciting and rewarding of our early married life."

"Val's method of working was to stay behind the scenes. He never tried to take credit for any work he did with the very capable and dedicated Chinese engineers, businessmen and government officials. But there's no denying his gratification and deep pleasure to have this recognition and appreciation for his work, " she wrote.

The documentary is the first film made by the National Taiwan University Library (NTUL), which started contacting the de Beaussets in 2004 about the film. In 2006, the de Beaussets donated their collections of photographs and color films, which were all taken in the 1950's, as well as personal letters and news clippings, to the NTUL for the making of the documentary.

The film serves as both a tribute to the contributions of de Beausset and as a reminder to the people of Taiwan that "we owe what we have today to an American engineer who should have been recognized long ago, " said NTUL Director Hsiang Jieh.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Representatives of civic groups who attended the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva said Wednesday that it boosted their morale to hold their heads high calling for support from the international community on Taiwan's new bid proposal to enter the World Health Organization (WHO) as a full member.

"This has been my 11th trip to Geneva for the WHA but it felt like the first time because we arrived with the name of Taiwan on our chests, " said Wu Shu-min, president of the Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan (FMPAT), which has been one of the most active civic groups in supporting Taiwan's WHO bid.

Taiwan has failed time and again in its WHO bid -- whether as a "health entity" or bidding for WHA observer status -- because of China's oppression, said Tu Shiing-jer, vice president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA) who also once served as health minister.

More than 100 overseas Taiwanese, most of them doctors and physicians from Europe and North America, volunteered to promote Taiwan's bid in Geneva, Wu said.

"If you were there, you could feel the difference. The morale was high. The passion and love for Taiwan was extraordinary. It was something I have never felt before during my past 10 trips to Geneva, " Wu said.

"And it was all because we finally shouted out to the world about who we are and what we want. This is a difficult road, but we'll keep coming back, " Wu said, claiming that constitutional re-engineering and referendum will make Taiwan's entry into the WHO easier.


Taipei, May 16 (CNA) With a clear and firm objective and the help of its international allies, Taiwan's failed bid for full membership of the World Health Organization (WHO) received a thorough and fruitful three-hour discussion at the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting, government officials said Wednesday upon return to Taiwan from Geneva.

"We had a very clear strategy this year and that allowed us to focus on the points of order. We were able to focus more on the meeting instead of promotion outside the assembly hall, " said Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Tzu-pao.

As the representative of Belize, one of Taiwan's 25 diplomatic allies, submitted a proposal for voting on whether Taiwan's membership bid should be listed on the agenda, the issue received thorough discussion of three hours, which was just what Taiwan had hoped for, according to Yang.

The representative from Nauru, another of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, also spoke up for Taiwan when several representatives complained about the lengthy discussion, saying that "time is precious for everyone, but the lives of the 23 million Taiwanese people are even more important," Yang said.

"This year we focused on doing the right thing -- bidding for the membership under the name of 'Taiwan' -- and forgot about China temporarily, " said Deputy Health Minister Chen Tzay-jinn.

Chen added that Taiwan opposes any illegal procedure in the handling of Taiwan's WHO bid issue within the WHA and WHO.

"Taiwan has received overwhelming support in its bid for a WHO membership from international media such as the Economist, Reuters, the Washington Post and Japan's Sankei Shimbun. A total of 956 articles to date from various news outlets all over the world have supported Taiwan's bid, compared to 715 from last year, " said Government Information Office acting Minister William Yih.

"Taiwan lost its bid once again, but the biggest losers this year are China and Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, because they did not dare to speak up for their improper handling of the case, " according to Chang Fu-mei, chairwoman of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC).

As for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) China signed with the WHO Secretariat in 2005, Yang said the signing of MOUs is allowed under WHO regulations. However, a MOU should not involve a third party and infringe upon anyone's interests and rights, he added.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Scholars accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of being blinded by politics, reviewed Taiwan's bidding strategy to enter the WHO as a full member and entertained the thought of giving Taiwan an image of a "bad boy" in a forum Tuesday.

Lamenting Taiwan's setback in its WHO membership bid, scholars who attended the forum organized by Taiwan Thinktank to review Taiwan's failed membership bid strategy said the WHO has become a political organization instead of an organization "providing leadership on global health matters."

"The WHO yielded to China's political pressure in ignoring Taiwan's bid once again and put global health in jeopardy by leaving Taiwan out of the global health system, " said Lo Chi-cheng, a professor at Soochow University.

"Taiwan is not poor enough, not sick enough and not bad enough. And Taiwan has no courage to violate the WHO regulations, " said Chiu Ya-wen, a researcher at the National Health Research Institute, who half-jokingly described Taiwan's current situation as "Three Nots and one No."

"As the old saying goes, 'noisy children get the candy.' Maybe we should be like North Korea, creating trouble and being a bad boy so the international community will raise its eyebrows, " said political commentator Paul Lin, tongue in cheek.

Taiwan should ask for its international allies to try to invalidate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed by the WHO Secretariat and China in 2005, under which Taiwan's medical experts have to file applications five weeks in advance for attending WHO technical meetings and have them approved by China's health department, and Taiwan medical personnel must attend WHO activities in private capacities and should be identified as "coming from Taiwan, China, " said David Huang, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of European and American Studies (IEAS).

Taiwan should also ask its allies to condemn the WHO secretariat for not complying with the rules of procedure by rejecting Taiwan's membership bid, Huang said.

Taiwan should also ask for an explanation from the WHO on the MOU and the improper handling of Taiwan's bid by the Secretariat, Lo Chi-cheng added.

In the future, Taiwan should develop a new scheme on how to accommodate three proposals -- the bid for WHA observer status, the bid for full WHO membership, and "meaningful participation" in WHO activities -- on the table, said Lin Cheng-yi, a research fellow at Academia Sinica's IEAS.

"The strategy for Taiwan's United Nations bid in September should also be included in the consideration, " Lin said.


Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Although Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization (WHO) as a full member was rebuffed again, the new strategy it presented this year has "not been a failure" as it took the issue to a new "moral high ground" instead of political disputes between Taiwan and China, according to scholars attending a forum Tuesday.

Taiwan's new strategy to bid for full WHO membership instead of trying for observer status in the World Health Assembly (WHA) "challenged the WHO on its founding principle of 'health for all' and made the international community question whether the organization has yielded to political reality, thus taking the people of Taiwan to the moral high ground, " said David Huang, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of European and American Studies (IEAS).

The new proposal also shows the world that Taiwan has not been happy with its minimal participation in WHO activities, the illegitimacy of the way it has been treated in the bidding process, and the illegality of a memorandum of understanding that the WHO Secretariat signed privately with China in 2005, according to Lin Cheng-yi, a research fellow at Academia Sinica's IEAS.

In a "broader perspective, " Taiwan did not lose in the international spectrum, said Lo Chi-cheng, a professor at Soochow University who serves as the executive commissioner of Taiwan Thinktank, organizer of the forum that reviewed Taiwan's strategy in its 2007 WHO bid.

"The U.S. and Japan are still supportive of Taiwan's bid as a WHA observer, and the European Union maintains its support of Taiwan's meaningful participation in WHO activities as well. In other words, Taiwan has not taken a step back. Instead, Taiwan has expressed its position more clearly, " Lo said.

The scholars also claimed that Taiwan's proposal this year made it "once again the limelight" of the annual WHA meeting, and claimed that this will be helpful for Taiwan's promotion for its WHO bid, that first started in 1995.

It called into question among countries all over the world whether it is fair that Taiwan, a country that has donated over US$300 million during the past 10 years to more than 90 countries for international medical and humanitarian relief, has not been accepted as a WHO member, according to Chiu Ya-wen, a researcher at the National Health Research Institute.

Just 17 countries voted in favor of Taiwan's membership being discussed, while 148 voted against the idea.


Taipei, May 14 (CNA) The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with three foreign major enterprises on the sidelines of an annual WiMAX technology conference Monday, with the goal of solidifying Taiwan's position as a technology leader.

"Taiwan has been delving into the infrastructure of WiMAX applications for years, " said Economics Minister Chen Rey-long, who added that by signing MOUs with three key players -- NEC, Nortel and Rohde and Schwarz -- from three different continents, Taiwan hopes to raise its global competitiveness in the WiMAX industry.

WiMAX technology is described as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last-mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL."

Signing the memorandum were Chen, Nortel President of WiMAX and Wireless Mesh Peter McKinnon, NEC President Kaoru Yano and Rhode and Schwarz President and Chief Operating Officer Christian Leicher. The three enterprises will open up their core network system interfaces and cooperate with at least two Taiwan manufacturers in developing the latest MIMO and other Smart Antenna technology.

Chen said WiMAX is a key technology being promoted by the government and that the participation of the three companies will help create a high quality state-of-the-art wireless broadband network, enabling Taiwan to become the world's first Wi-Fi/WiMAX dual network services environment.

The cooperation is expected to be the catalyst for Taiwan's expansion in the highly competitive technology, McKinnon said, adding that Nortel established a WiMAX partnership with Chunghwa Telecom since last December.

It is only natural for NEC to work with Taiwan, given the company's long history of operations in Taiwan since 1940, and its understanding of the island, said Yano, who also announced that NEC is setting up a research and development center in Taiwan.

Asia-Pacific WiMAX Conference and Exhibition 2007 Taipei Summit, organized by the MOEA, is taking place in Taipei May 14 - 15. Over 400 experts are participating in the summit to share their experience in promoting WiMAX and related technology.

In addition, the world's first mobile WiMAX exhibition is being held, enabling visitors to get a feel for super high speed mobile broadband and other practical applications.


Taipei, May 14 (CNA) More than 2,400 Filipino workers in Taiwan cast their votes in the Philippines' midterm election Monday, the first time voting-by-mail has been allowed for the country's overseas workers, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) said.

However, a rough count showed that just 12.9 percent of the 18,767 Filipino registered voters in Taiwan bothered to cast their votes, Carlo L. Aquino, overall coordinator for Philippines overseas absentee voting in Taiwan told CNA.

The Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) approved personal voting for the first time for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the 2004 election. This year marks the first time OFWs have been able to vote by mail, said Aquino.

"We didn't have the kind of turnout rate we would have liked though, "Aquino admitted, saying the turnout rate was probably because most OFWs in Taiwan are only allowed to go out one Sunday every month and do not have easy access to MECO offices.

In addition, due to registration and postal errors, some ballot packets were not sent to the correct addresses in Taiwan, Aquino added.

Aquino also encouraged Taiwan's legislation to pass its own absentee voting act to respect the basic civil right of every Taiwanese national.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Taipei, May 11 (CNA) The British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei (BTCO), the United Kingdom's representative office in Taiwan, Friday called for the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat to show "flexibility" in allowing Taiwan to participate in WHO activities.

"We hope that the Secretariat, and others organizing meetings under the WHO, will show flexibility in finding mechanisms to allow Taiwanese medical and public health officials to participate in the activities, " BTCO said in a statement regarding Taiwan's participation in the WHO.

"We hope that the Secretariat, and others organizing meetings under the WHO, will show flexibility in finding mechanisms to allow Taiwanese medical and public health officials to participate in their activities, " BTCO said.

"The EU has therefore chosen to press for more practical and meaningful measures to allow Taiwan to participate in the activities of the WHO, " BTCO said.

President Chen Shui-bian called for support from the international community to give Taiwan a seat in the WHO via a satellite video conference with international media in Geneva Friday.


Taipei, May 11 (CNA) The 2007 Taipei Film Festival released a list of 31 nominees in four categories ahead of one of the largest film festivals in Taiwan at press conference Friday.

Notable nominees at the festival, which will be held from June 22 to July 9 in Taipei, include "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone," directed by internationally-renowned director Tsai Ming-liang, "The Most Distant Course" and "Island Etude, " both of which were earlier nominated in the International New Talent Competition.

Promising local young directors are also being recognized, with Kao Bing-chuan having two films -- "The Soul of the Bread" and "A Starry Silent Night" -- on the list of nominees. Awards fall into four categories: best narrative films (12 films) , best documentary films (6), best experimental films (6) and best animated films (7).

Six documentary nominees, a genre which has been relatively successful in recent years in Taiwan, touch on a wide range of social topics, including beach preservation, journalism in Taiwan, home-rebuilding in Jhongliao, Nantou after the massive earthquake in 1999, and the Loshen Sanatorium, are also worth watching, said organizers.

All nominated films will be screened during the 18-day festival, one of the most important and high-profile international cultural events in Taiwan.

The festival attracts not only everyday moviegoers, but also film professionals. Of the approximately 100,000 attendees each year, the majority is made up of a decidedly young audience.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Turkish folk dance will be introduced to Taiwan for the first time with four performances in three major cities May 10-13, organizer Anatolia Formosa Association (AFA) said Thursday.

The four shows have been arranged for Taichung May 10 at Feng Chia University Library and Taichung City's Lecture Hall of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, May 11 at the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center, and May 13 at Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls High School, said AFA secretary-general Ersin Ozkan.

The AFA is a private, non-profit organization established in 2006 by Turkish and Taiwanese members living in Taipei who share the goal of promoting Turkish culture and strengthening the friendship between Turkish and Taiwanese peoples in Taiwan.


Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Taiwan has been described as a "good teammate" in the game of world health, one which the world can not afford to lose, and which does not deserve to be left out in the cold, civil groups said Thursday in a press conference to announce an urban hike to promote for Taiwan's application to enter the World Health Organization (WHO).

Taiwan has been making a contribution to improving global health, sending medical missions worldwide, and is always on the frontlines in providing international emergency relief where needed, representatives from various organizations said.

For example, Taiwan sent medical missions overseas during the tsunami in South Asia, the earthquake in Indonesia, and to a number of small countries in need, such as Tuvalu and Solomon Islands. The International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) has been sending medical missions abroad since 1962, and the Taiwan Nurses Association has been offering international relief services for the past 20 years.

Despite the international community's awareness that "diseases knows no boundaries, and there shouldn't be any gaps in the international disease-prevention network, " Taiwan has been unable to participate in the WHO since it withdrew from the organization in 1972.

"The WHO was established with the goal of helping all peoples attain the highest possible levels of health. However, the 23 million people of Taiwan were treated like orphans during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003, " said former health minister Lee Ming-liang.

Taiwan has had its WHO bids constantly rejected despite the fact that, according to a public poll, 94.7 percent of Taiwanese people support Taiwan's bid for membership in the WHO, and 111 legislators supported the latest bid.

Taiwan's membership bid has become an annual activity -- and disappointment -- but supporters were jubilant over this year's new tactics, which saw Taiwan apply to enter the WHO as a full member rather than joining the World Health Assembly (WHA) , the decision-making body of the WHO, as an observer.

"Now we're bidding for full membership. Even though it is still very difficult [to win approval] this year, we will be coming back strong every year, " said Tsuang Ming-sion, superintendent of Sin Lau Hospital. Tsuang will lead a group of 70 persons to promote Taiwan's WHO bid in Geneva, where the WHA annual meeting will be held from May 14.

Taiwan has obviously been excluded from the WHO for political reasons, given that the nation's medical systems globally rank in the top 30 percent, said Lee Tzu-yao, a veteran doctor who is a member of the Foundation of Medical Professional Alliances in Taiwan (FMPAT).

"We are human, not animals. The people of Taiwan should stand up and speak for themselves," Lee stressed.

The hike "Be WHO! Taiwan, " jointly organized by the Taiwan International Health Action (Taiwan IHA) and eight other organizations, will be held simultaneously in Taipei and Kaohsiung May 12, with the expected number of participants pegged at 20,000, said Taiwan IHA, an ad hoc inter-ministerial body established in 2006 to integrate public and private resources for Taiwan's international humanitarian and medical relief efforts.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Taipei, May 8 (CNA) The Terracotta Army exhibition, one of the most popular exhibitions in recent memory in the world, will be held at the National Museum of History (NMH) in Taipei from May 12 - July 31, organizers said Tuesday.

The "Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang Di" exhibition, which is being held in Taiwan for the second time since 2000, will showcase 116 of the more-than 8,000 terracotta warriors and other articles discovered in the early 1970s in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in the Chinese province of Shaanxi.

Over1.65 million visitors visited the 2000 exhibition in Taipei and Taichung to see some of what historians call the eighth wonder of the world and what is listed by the United Nations as a World Heritage site, said NMH Director Huang Yung-chuan.

While items displayed in the 2000 exhibition came mostly from Pit One of the site, which houses a battle formation of over 6,000 warriors, the exhibits this year come from Pit Two, which was not discovered until March 1999, Huang said.

The most valuable exhibits will be two colored terracotta warriors and items such as a bronze crane and stone armor, Huang said.

"The exhibition will be very helpful for those who want to know more about Chinese culture of 2,200 years ago, " Huang said of the exhibition, a collaboration between the NMH and China's Shaanxi Bureau of Cultural Relics.


Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The new head of the Vietnamese Economic and Cultural Office (VECO) in Taipei, Nguyen Ba Cu, will arrive in Taipei this weekend to assume office, the VECO said Monday.

Nguyen, 58, will replace Hoang Nhu Ly as the top Vietnamese representative in Taiwan, said acting head Pham Manh Hai, who is the VECO's incumbent deputy head.

Prior to his current post, Nguyen served as the senior consultant of Vietnam's Chamber of Commerce and Industry and worked in Vietnam's Embassy in China from the 1980's through to the 2000's.

Hoang served as the head of the VECO in Taipei from October 2002 to April 2007.


Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The Lotos Mongolian song and dance group, which comes from the Republic of Kalmykia, will embark on a performance tour to provide Taiwanese audiences with a rare glimpse of this European nation, organizers said Monday.

The Kalmyk group will stage six free-of-charge performances of its "White Lotus in the Steppe" tour in Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hualien from May 9 - 13, main organizer Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission said.

Kalmykia, a country with a population of 300,000, is situated on the northwestern shores of the Caspian Sea. Its cultural has been strongly influenced by Mongolia and Russia, being a constituent of the Russian Federation but populated by decedents of nomadic Mongol herdsmen.

"The shoulder-shivering, horse-riding and eagle-flying gestures in the dance are very Mongolian, while the footwork is obviously from Kazakhstan, " said organizer Peter Yu, who has extensively researched Mongolian history.

"The throaty aria and traditional dombra, used to accompany dances, are also from Mongolia, " Yu added.

Kalmykia is the only Buddhist nation in Europe and reveres the Dalai Lama. As Tibetan Buddhism is its dominant religion, the country is unique in the Russian Federation, most of which is Orthodox Christian.


Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Non-profit organizations will be able to bid for funding support from the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) for Taiwan-based projects under the theme of climate change and human rights protection, BTCO said in a press release Monday.

Priority will be given to projects that take a strategic approach to both of these areas, and which are likely to make a sustained difference. Projects must be completed by March 2008, and preference will be given to projects that are scheduled for completion by December this year, BTCO said.

"This is the first year that we have used open competition to invite bids for project work. We plan to use the projects to strengthen our ties with non-profit organizations and to promote our objectives of increasing awareness of climate change and driving progress towards a low-carbon economy here in Taiwan, " said BTCO Director Michael Reilly.

Funding of up to NT$ 300,000 per project is available. The deadline for applications is May 30.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Taipei, May 5 (CNA) The Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark economic corridor is going at full strength, and it seeks to strengthen economic relations between Taiwan and the Philippines, a Philippine official told the CNA in an interview Saturday.

By linking three economic and export process zones and allowing easier product and manpower movement, Taiwan and the Philippines will be able to build upon their already successful trade relations and create a win-win situation, said Armand Arreza, administrator and CEO of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Arreza was a part of a Philippines delegation that visited Taiwan from May 2-5 to review the implementation of the economic corridor, an initiative submitted by former Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh in 2005. The Memorandum of Agreement was signed and went into effect May 2006.

The Philippines and Taiwan have been enjoying a long and harmonious trade relationship, Arreza said, adding that there are more than 45 Taiwanese locators in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone which account for more than 80 percent of the zone's export value.

The establishment of the corridor is expected to resolve some issues that have concerned Taiwanese companies and make Subic Bay attractive again, he said.

The Clark Special Economic Zone, a former U.S. Air Force base located just north of Manila, will also become attractive for Taiwanese companies, especially following Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's announcement of a US$1 billion investment plan by Texas Instruments earlier this week, Clark Development Corp. Director Benigno Ricafort said.

Arreza also clarified local news reports on Taiwanese businesses' "exodus" from Subic Bay, stressing that the freeport always welcomes Taiwanese companies and that it is "delivering more and more incentives to Taiwanese companies."

"This is an international zone for everyone. Companies from South Korea, China and the United States have seen the opportunities [ for investment.] It's only a matter of time before Taiwan once again recognizes the opportunities," Arreza said.

However, he admitted that some Taiwanese companies have moved out of Subic Bay, explaining that "it's just a part of the business" since companies are always looking for cheaper labor.

"Today, they're moving to Vietnam, tomorrow they will be in Cambodia. And in the future, they will probably be in Africa, " he said.

"But we want to work with Taiwan, and we are always looking to adjust, " he reiterated, saying that qualified engineers are in short supply, and that's Taiwan's strength. If Taiwan takes advantage of the Philippine labor force and helps develop its talent and creativity, this will be beneficial for both sides, he said.

Subic Bay and Clark are working hard to improve infrastructure, including building expressways, international airports and power supply networks, Ricafort added.

Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced in a press release that the Philippines has agreed to grant Taiwanese IC makers tax-free treatment for a period of between 6-8 years, as well as 90-day visas and work permits, while lowering electricity costs for Taiwanese locators. The two sides will also collaborate to push for direct flights between Taipei/Kaohsiung and Subic Bay/Clark and to integrate tourism into the corridor in the future.

According to MOEA tallies, bilateral trade between Taiwan and the Philippines reached US$7.2 billion for 2006, with Taiwan ranking as the Philippines' sixth largest trading partner.


Taipei, May 5 (CNA) English proficiency is as important as professional expertise, if not more important, in determining Taiwanese white-collar workers' chances of getting hired by foreign companies, a spokesman for a job hunting service said Saturday.

"The number of registered foreign companies in Taiwan has reached more than 3,000, which accounts for only less than one percent of all registered companies in the country. That shows you how difficult it is to get a job with a foreign enterprise in Taiwan. And more often than not, your English proficiency will be the deciding factor," said Ryan Wu, vice general manager of 1111 Job Bank.

Representatives from various leading foreign companies agreed with Wu's view in a press conference held Saturday to announce the results of a poll on office workers' dream foreign employers. The survey found that over 96 percent of Taiwan's white-collar workers want to work for foreign enterprises.

Employees of a foreign company are expected to attend at least one English-speaking meeting a week, and in Yahoo! Taiwan's case, it's almost a daily routine, said Lu Wen-shiou, Yahoo! Taiwan's human resources director.

"All our e-mails, documents and reports are in English. And most of our meetings are conducted in English, " said Chou Su-huei, human resources manager for American Express.

Most companies do not require language proficiency certificates from their newly-recruited employees, because most of them hold oral interviews prior to the hirings, and "there's no place for you to 'hide' once you're hired, " Wu said.

"To be considered proficient in English, you not only have to be able to attend English-speaking meetings and understand what your colleagues are saying, you also have to be able to participate in the discussions, chair meetings and even socialize after the meetings -- all in English, " Wu said half-jokingly.

At the press conference, "four dream foreign employers" for Taiwanese white-collar workers in four categories were announced according to the results of the online survey. They are: IBM Corp. (manufacturing industry), American Express (financial industry), IKEA (retail industry), and Yahoo Group (all other industries).


Taipei, May 4 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian Friday praised the ideals and achievements of the European Union (EU), which is entering its 50th year, and appealed to EU for its support of Taiwan in the international community.

Highlighting the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat's refusal to accept Taiwan's request to become a WHO member under the name "Taiwan" and the fact that the United Nations Office in Geneva once again refused to issue press credentials to Taiwanese journalists to cover the World Health Assembly (WHA), Chen urged the EU to "extend more assistance to and support for Taiwan in international affairs."

"We deeply appreciate the EU's solid support for Taiwan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). With the WHA soon to convene, it is my earnest hope that EU delegates will also speak up for Taiwan at the assembly and join hands with us to safeguard the collective health rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan, " Chen said at a Europe Day dinner hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the EU's 50th anniversary.

Citing the Freedom of the Press 2007 survey published by U.S.-based Freedom House Tuesday, in which Taiwan ranked No. 33 among the 195 countries surveyed and counted as Asia's most media-friendly country, Chen said it is ironic that Asia's freest press environment is denied the freedom to cover the WHA.

"Do not hesitate to do a good deed because it is trivial, and do not do an evil deed because it is negligible, " Chen said, using an old saying to encourage European countries speak up against China's relentless oppression of Taiwan.

He described European integration as "the grandest project in mankind's contemporary history" and in his speech lauded the EU's pursuit of four major objectives: peace, security, solidarity and progress.

Europe Day, May 9, is the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in which former French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed a new form of political arrangement for Europe. Six countries decided in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome to build a European Economic Community, which is now known as the EU.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Taipei, May 3 (CNA) American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office Director Stephen Young Thursday again called for the passage of an appropriate defense budget for arms procurement to help Taiwan shore up its national defenses against China's military buildup.

In his second press conference in six months, Young, who recently returned from Washington for consultations, also made clear that the U.S. has "no favorites" in Taiwan's 2008 presidential election and "will cooperate with whoever elected, like we did in 2000."

In a press conference last October, Young sent one of the strongest and clearest messages the AIT has publicly expressed in years urging Taiwan's legislature to pass the defense budget and various arms procurement packages. His statement drew criticism within Taiwan's politically polarized climate.

Young said he has spoken with leaders of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition, and received promises to push for the passage of the bill.

"Yet there's been no action," he said, adding that the U.S. would speak out "humbly, respectfully and clearly" when it felt that either side of the Taiwan Strait is unilaterally changing the status quo and threatening stability in the Strait.

One of the toughest questions he had to answer, Young said, during his consultation with officials in the Pentagon, White House, State Department and Capitol Hill, was "Why hasn't Taiwan passed an appropriate defense budget which provides for funding of the defensive system President [George] Bush offered six years ago?"

The latest explanation from Taiwan centered around the controversial issue of Central Election Committee, but that still could not explain why the Legislative Yuan hasn't taken any action in moving the bill, Young said.

He went on to denounce a false local report which claimed that the U.S. government approved the use of long range offensive missiles in the Han Kwang exercise.

Quoting U.S. National Security Council senior Asian Director Dennis Wilder, Young said the U.S. does not encourage the development of offensive weapons on either side of the Strait.

Ask about the absence of any mention of the cross-strait issue in the just-concluded security dialogue between the U.S. and Japan, Young said it was not the first time that the issue was not mentioned in the meeting, but the U.S. maintains a longstanding and consistent policy on the cross-strait issue.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Never fear being extraordinary, Vice President Annette Lu, who is seeking the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) nomination to run for the next presidency, said Wednesday, adding that she is proud of being a female leader and of the way she has conducted herself in a brutal primary.

"I believe that the people of Taiwan are ready for a female president, although some of the DPP supporters are not, " Lu, alluding to a claim by a senior DPP supporter that women are not suited to being a national leader, said in an interview with CNA.

Lu is one of the most prominent female political figures in Taiwan and has always advocated what she describes as the "soft power" that women can bring to the political table.

Citing well-known examples in history, including Elizabeth I of England, Catherine the Great of Russia and Wu Zetian, the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Emperor, Lu said that women are able to achieve great feats just like men.

"And look at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was named by Forbes Magazine among the most powerful people of 2007, " Lu said, adding that there are 14 female heads of state in the world.

"99.9 percent of wars in history were launched by men. Women can find another way to cope with difficulties, challenges and conflicts," she claimed.

Women also approach politics differently, she said, which is why she has been insisting a "no fund-raising, no mobilization" policy in her DPP primary campaign, hoping to win the approval of party members through her ideals and vision.

Lu expressed hope that her integrity and her accomplishments and dedication in different fields can win the heart of the voters.

A women's movement advocate, Lu became the first female vice president in Taiwanese history in 2000. Before that, she was jailed in the early1980's for her involvement in the opposition movement when the Kuomintang (KMT) was still in power.

She has devoted herself for years to various international affairs, such as Taiwan's bid for a U.N. seat and establishing the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) and the Pacific Congressional Caucus (PCC).

"If I win the DPP nomination, I believe I can beat Ma Ying-jeou (who is expected to win the KMT nomination soon) in the 2008 presidential election and start writing Taiwan's `her-story', " she said, an apparent mis-reference to the word "history."


Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu, who is seeking the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) nomination to run for the next presidency, told CNA Wednesday in an extensive interview that it is important for Taiwan to re-position itself and that she looks forward to leading Taiwan onto a global stage.

"Taiwan needs to define and re-position itself in a historical context, as well as in its relationship with the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. Taiwan will never be able to walk out of the mire of independence versus unification with China without re-positioning itself accurately, " she said.

Taiwan became de jure independent March 23, 1996, the day of Taiwan's first direct presidential election, she claimed, saying that she will push for normalization of the country, which includes the campaign to change the names of companies with the word China in the title and to replace the Constitution, instead of being trapped in the debate of independence versus unification.

Lu, who attended Harvard Law School and devoted herself to constitutional study, said that it would be very difficult to amend the Constitution under current regulations.

"In the long term, we need to launch a comprehensive and complete constitutional education for Taiwan citizens. The second step would be drafting the framework of a new constitution with help from professional scholars, " she said, adding that the constitutional system of Japan and the U.S. might not be suitable for Taiwan.

Instead, Taiwan can learn from a number of welfare countries in Northern Europe, such as the Netherlands, whose backgrounds, territorial sizes and populations are similar to Taiwan, Lu said.

With her experience in participating in international affairs, Lu went on, she will be able to march with Taiwan onto the global stage.

"I am determined to make Taiwan a 'global Taiwan', instead of 'China's Taiwan' or 'Taiwan's Taiwan', " she said, reiterating her vision for Taiwan while referring the perspectives of her DPP counterparts and Ma Ying-jeou, who is expected to be the nomination of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) for the 2008 presidential

In terms of relations with China, Lu advocated a "3CO" policy that Taiwan will seek co-existence, co-operation and co-prosperity with China.

She said Taiwan should keep cultivating its high-tech and develop a cultural creative industry to embrace the "new economy" in the age of globalization.

As the DPP presidential primary drew to a close, Lu also lamented the lack of fair competition in the campaign. Lu is the only female in the four-man field, which also includes Premier Su Tseng-chang, former DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and former Premier Frank Hsieh.

The DPP will by May 12 at the earliest determine its candidate for the election. The presidential primary's public opinion poll will take place from May 9-11 and will account for 70 percent of the score in determining who will represent the party, with the other 30 percent accounted through a vote by party members
May 6.


Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Consensus-building is a priority for Taiwan as the current "democratic civil war" has hindered Taiwan's national development and democratic achievement, former Premier Frank Hsieh, one of four ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopefuls, said in an interview with CNA Tuesday.

Hsieh, who launched his presidential campaign with the slogans of "love and trust" and "say yes to Taiwan, " also said he believes the people of Taiwan would be glad to see China's peaceful rise if China holds no animosity toward it.

In another effort to explain his controversial "One China" framework for the Constitution, which has been under criticism by hardcore Taiwan independence supporters, Hsieh reiterated that he foresees an eventual "one Taiwan" constitution and that when he said "China" he was referring to the Republic of China.

"The percentage of people who recognize `Taiwan identity' has been constantly over 70 percent in most public opinion polls. The DPP, however, has been able to win only around 50 percent of the vote in elections, " Hsieh said, noting that the 20 percent-30 percent differential is something the ruling party should think about.

The number shows that people who recognize "Taiwan identity" do not necessarily support the DPP's policies. Hsieh said consensus-building will be his priority if he wins his bid to be the DPP presidential candidate and wins the 2008 presidential election.

"If that happens, we will have a new constitution that reflects Taiwan's status quo: an independent country, " Hsieh said.

The former premier once again elaborated on his initiative of a "national stability alliance" and a "coalition government," saying that it will be his responsibility, if he wins the election, to help the DPP control the majority in the legislature" so that we can be held accountable for our policies and so that the people will not suffer."

Asked about the recent controversy over the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay route, Hsieh noted that he supported the government's decision to reject Beijing's torch rely plan but had second thoughts about a potential boycott of the 2008 Olympics.

A national leader is expected to find a "holistic solution" instead of making decisions on the concept of "either/or, " Hsieh said, adding that the suppression by China of Taiwan's international participation is almost a given. He said he will try to find a way for Taiwan to participate in international affairs and events without interference from China.

Hsieh said he believes Taiwan is an ocean state and that this concept will be dominant in his national development plan. He also advocated bidding to host the 2020 Olympics and of a more liberal economic system.

The DPP will by May 12 at the earliest determine its candidate for the 2008 presidential election. The presidential primary's public opinion poll will take place from May 9-11 and will account for 70 percent of the score in determining who will represent the party, with the other 30 percent accounted through a vote by party members May 6.

The other three aspirants are Vice President Annette Lu, Premier Su Tseng-chang and former DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun.