Government sources told the Taipei Times yesterday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will embark on July 4 for a visit to five African allies and that his itinerary would include transit stops in one or two European countries. \n"This time, President Chen will focus on the African countries farthest away from Taiwan. He also hopes to achieve additional breakthroughs by making transit stops in European nations that do not hold formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan," one of the sources said. \nDuring his 10-day trip from July 4, the president will travel to Senegal, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe in western Africa and Malawi and Swaziland in southern Africa. \nThe planned stopover in Europe is not necessarily for rest or diplomatic dealing. It arises from the need to transfer to a smaller plane, as the airports in some countries on his itinerary cannot accommodate large jets. \nPresidential Office and foreign ministry officials refused to comment on which European country or countries would host the stopovers, citing security concerns and the need to avoid obstructionism by Beijing. \nA senior adviser to the National Security Council, however, told the Taipei Times: "Originally the Presidential Office planned transit stops in a number of West European countries, but most of those countries pointed to the underlying difficulties of allowing such stops by the president," the source added. \n"The president may therefore make a stopover in an Eastern European country instead," the source said. \n"We believe that arrangement could work," he said. \nThe foreign ministry official also revealed that the itinerary for Vice President Annette Lu's visit to Europe in March to attend a meeting of Liberal International in Budapest, Hungary, including a stopover in Rome and a visit to the Vatican, had been the itinerary originally arranged for Chen. \n"During Vice President Lu's stopover in Rome, she enjoyed a reception normally reserved by the Italian government for foreign heads of state, including tight security measures and traffic controls," the official added. \nThe trip will be the third overseas tour of Chen's presidency.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters