President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he is “looking forward” to his first visit to the Vatican as president to attend Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass.
“The Vatican is Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in Europe and this visit has been named ‘Ching Yi (慶誼),’ meaning the celebration of the two countries’ solid diplomatic ties over the past 71 years,” Ma said on his Facebook page.
Ma said he is looking forward to the visit, during which he will congratulate Pope Francis in person on his election to the papacy and convey the Taiwanese people’s heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to the Holy See.
Ma said he visited the Vatican in a whirlwind trip in 1997 and went back again in 1999 in his capacity as Taipei mayor. Ma said he is from a Catholic family and that as a child, he frequently went to the Catholic church in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) with his grandmother.
When he was in college, he learned French and English from a Catholic priest and nun, he said.
Larry Wang (王豫元), the nation’s ambassador to the Vatican, said Ma is the first Republic of China (ROC) president invited to attend a papal investiture. The invitation reflects the close relations between Taiwan and the Vatican, and their shared values such as mercy, humanitarianism and peace, Wang said.
He said Taiwan and the Vatican have worked together on many humanitarian missions and that when Taiwan needed help, such as during the devastating earthquake in 1999 and the Typhoon Morakot disaster in 2009, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI respectively expressed concern and conveyed condolences to those affected.
Pope Benedict XVI also donated US$50,000 to Taiwan in the wake of the Morakot disaster, Wang said.
The Vatican is Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in Europe. The two countries have maintained diplomatic ties since 1942, with religious, academic and cultural exchanges and mutual recognition of each other’s university and college degrees.
When Benedict XVI’s predecessor, pope John Paul II, died in April 2005, then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made a rare visit to the Vatican to attend the funeral.
Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) also made a visit to the Vatican in July 2003 to attend Pope John Paul II’s 25th anniversary as the leader of the Catholic Church.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be