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.
ESPIONAGE CHARGE: A TAO spokesperson said that the rights of Shih Cheng-ping were ‘fully safeguarded’ during the hearing, which handed him four years in prison China sentenced Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor, to four years in jail for espionage, officials said yesterday. The ruling came a month after Shih made a televised “confession” on state media. Shih, who is also a former chief economist for Chinese conglomerate Huaxia Group (華夏集團), was found guilty by a Chinese court on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) told a news briefing. Shih — who vanished after traveling to China in August 2018 — was among Taiwanese who China Central Television (CCTV) last month showed confessing to spying. CCTV often broadcasts suspects admitting to crimes, even
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
SKIN, ENTRAILS: Placards also dotted the legislative chamber, with slogans such as ‘Oppose ractopamine pork — not US pork’ and ‘Much ado about nothing’ Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday pelted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with pig skin and entrails as he addressed the Legislative Yuan on pork imports for the first time since the KMT’s boycott began on Sept. 18. Opposition lawmakers have been demanding an apology from the government for its decision to lift its ban on the importation of US pork containing residues of the livestock drug ractopamine. After Su arrived at 10am for his 13th attempt to deliver a regular policy report, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus moved to change the agenda to accommodate the premier. The motion resulted in cries of