The Thai government yesterday made a last-minute U-turn and issued a visa to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who was initially forced to cancel the Thailand leg of a scheduled trip to Southeast Asia because of difficulties in securing a visa.
The KMT said it was informed at about 4:30pm that Thailand was willing to issue a visa to Wu, shortly after it had issued a statement saying that Wu’s week-long trip to the Philippines and Thailand would be shortened by two days due to unexplained delays in receiving a visa for the former vice president.
As Wu has now obtained a visa, he will follow his original itinerary, departing today and returning on Saturday next week, the KMT said, adding that the trip is part of its celebrations for the 123rd anniversary of the founding of the party’s earliest predecessor, the Society for Regenerating China (興中會).
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Wu nearly suffered the same fate as former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who in July had to cancel a trip to Thailand after she failed to receive a visa before her scheduled departure.
Hung at the time accused the Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei of deliberately delaying her application and questioned the efficacy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) oft-trumpeted New Southbound Policy.
Earlier yesterday, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Lee Ming-hsien (李明賢) said the party applied for a visa to Thailand on Wu’s behalf two weeks ago with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but had not heard back from the office, which serves as Bangkok’s de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
Wu decided to move the anniversary celebration to the two Southeast Asian countries because they are home to the most Taiwanese expatriates, Lee said.
Wu intends to visit only Taiwanese expatriates in Thailand and has no plans to meet with Thai officials, he added.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand earlier yesterday said that since Wu’s visa application was submitted, it had actively engaged the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the matter, met with the KMT’s contacts in Bangkok and regularly updated concerned parties in Taiwan and Thailand about the issue.
The Thailand Trade and Economic Office yesterday declined to comment.
‘BADGE OF HONOR’: Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene, who is on China’s travel ban list, said delegation members joked that they would be joining her on it soon A delegation led by the chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan yesterday arrived in Taipei to participate in a conference on democracy later this week. The group, led by Matas Maldeikis, a Lithuanian lawmaker and an outspoken critic of China, touched down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:18am yesterday. Maldeikis said at the airport that he expected the trip to enhance understanding between Taiwan and Lithuania after cooperation between the two sides took a big step forward this past year. “This trip will be another step in understanding each other because we are dealing with the same challenges,”
INVASION: Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said: ‘A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance’ Japan and the US could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, and Beijing needs to understand this, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday. Speaking virtually to a forum organized by Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Policy Research, Abe said that the Senkaku Islands — known as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in Taiwan — the Sakishima Islands and Yonaguni Island are only about 100km from Taiwan. An invasion of Taiwan would be a grave danger to Japan, he said. “A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance. People in Beijing, [Chinese] President
‘HISTORIC’: The passage of the resolution by both chambers of the French parliament shows their concrete support for Taiwan’s global participation, the foreign ministry said The government yesterday thanked the French National Assembly for adopting a resolution on Monday in support of Taiwan’s international participation, following a similar resolution passed by the French Senate in May. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the resolution’s passage as “historic” and as demonstrating the concrete support of both chambers of the French parliament for Taiwan’s participation in international affairs. Taiwan and France have shared a long-standing partnership characterized by a high level of trust, and based on the shared values of democracy, freedom and human rights, the ministry said. Passed on Monday in a 39-2 vote with three abstentions, the non-legally
GET A BOOST: After considering the potential for local outbreaks amid an increase in cases abroad, a committee recommended adolescents receive their second shots The level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended until Dec. 13, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, as it advised people in six high-risk groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. It also recommended that adolescents aged 12 to 17 who had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receive a second shot. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nationwide level 2 alert would remain in place for two more weeks from today. Chen said that during New Year’s events eating and drinking might be allowed in designated areas, while