Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) was forced to change flight plans from Swaziland to Burkina Faso after South Africa denied his request to make a transit stop in the country, a diplomatic source said yesterday.
The diplomatic source confirmed that there had been pressure from Beijing on Pretoria not to allow a second transit by Yen through its territory after China learned that Yen had earlier transited through the country to Swaziland, as reported in the Chinese-language Liberty Times, the Taipei Times’ sister paper.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had sent Yen as his envoy to attend the birthday celebration of Swaziland’s King Mswati III on April 24. The delegation led by Yen then paid a visit to Burkina Faso on the return trip to celebrate 20 years of diplomatic ties.
According to the Liberty Times, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged a charter flight for the delegation to fly directly from Swaziland to Burkina Faso after it was informed at short notice that the scheduled stopover in South Africa would not be allowed.
The Liberty Times reported the charter flight was “costly.”
In response to reporters’ questions about the report yesterday, foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) did not confirm or deny whether China had been involved.
Given there is no direct flight from Swaziland to Burkina Faso, a possible plan all along was that the delegation would travel to Burkina Faso from Swaziland by charter flight, Kao said.
The ministry has different plans in place in relation to overseas travel for officials and it decides on a final option after everything is considered, Kao said, adding that the use of a charter flight in this case was to ensure the delegation’s safety and convenience.
Swaziland, Burkina Faso, and Sao Tome and Principe are the only three countries in Africa with which Taiwan still has diplomatic relations.
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012