The US has been forced to quell a number of foreign policy spats in recent days as normally blunt-talking Secretary of State Colin Powell struggles to learn the tactful art of "diplospeak," the State Department conceded on Tuesday. \nAt least twice in the past week, Powell has made unscripted remarks about extremely sensitive international disputes in Asia and the Middle East that have infuriated countries in those regions and required US diplomats to engage in serious damage-control efforts. \nOn March 9, Powell angered China by referring to Taiwan, which it views as a rebel province, as the "Republic of China" twice during testimony to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, causing the State Department to scramble to assure Beijing that its policy toward Taiwan had not changed. \nBeijing has long opposed the official recognition of Taiwan by officials of countries that maintain diplomatic relations with China, a condition that also extends to the use of Taiwan's official name. \nChinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on Tuesday that China had made "solemn representations" to Washington expressing its "great concern and dissatisfaction" over the incident. \nState Department spokesman Richard Boucher acknowledged that China had sought clarification about the use of the term and that "we replied very clearly that the US policy has not changed." \n"The US side emphasized it was purely a slip of the tongue by the secretary of state and did not mean any change to the "one China" policy pursued by the US side," Boucher said in a routine briefing. \nBoucher said that Washington had not apologized to China but refused to say if State Department officials had suggested that Powell not use the term in future. \n"I'm not going to get into our discussions with the secretary, I'd just say that we don't normally use the term and I don't think we'll be using it in the future," he said. \nOn March 7, speaking at a hearing before the House International Relations Committee, Powell referred to the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, incensing the Arab world and possibly complicating already fragile Middle East peace efforts. \nBoth Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and Israel's claim over the whole of the city, the Arab eastern part of which it captured and annexed in the 1967 Middle East war, has never been recognized by the international community. \nUS policy has long held that the status of Jerusalem should be decided in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and Washington has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv to avoid inflaming the dispute. \nBoucher sought to downplay the negative reactions from the Arabs and the Chinese, describing their responses as inquiries about possible subtle policy changes rather than protestations.
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),