Six US scholars and former government officials, under the aegis of the US' National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP), reached Taipei yesterday after a visit to China -- as part of a "track two" program to facilitate diplomacy between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. \nWhile most of the officials declined to comment on Chinese Vice President Hu Jin-tao's (胡錦濤) current trip to the US, one member of the delegation did offer an opinion. \n"I think the trip is positive. My own sense is that when US-China relations are on track, it makes cross-strait relations easier," Ralph Cossa, President of the Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told the Taipei Times. "Hu, as everyone expects, is going to be the next primary leader ... the sooner that he and Mr. Bush start developing a certain level of comfort with one another, the better off we are going to be," Cossa said. \nFresh from the group's trip to China, Cossa also noted what he called an "interesting" phenomenon with regard to the Chinese newspapers' coverage of Hu's visit. \n"You got to get to the third or fourth page to find Hu's visit to the US. The front page was reserved for Jiang Zemin (江澤民). But it tells you that China has not tried to play this thing up, either. Hu is still fourth or fifth in the ranking," Cossa noted. \nOn the thorny issue of Taiwan, Cossa said: "If Hu tries to be tough on Taiwan during his visit, he will be doing it more for a domestic audience." \n"If he came in and tried to be obnoxious about Taiwan, it would work very much to his disadvantage, because the Bush administration is not a group that you can get to kowtow by bullying them," he said. \nThe group visited Beijing and Shanghai before reaching Taipei for a five-day visit. The delegation is to meet President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新), Chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and members of the National Security Council, sources said. \nThe group will also visit Taipei's Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), a think-tank called the Chinese Eurasian Education Foundation (中華歐亞教育基金會) and members of the foreign and overseas Chinese affairs committee at the Legislative Yuan. \nThe group also included NCAFP Trustee Donald Zagoria, former US ambassador to China Winston Lord, NCAFP President George Schwab; Robert Scalapino, professor emeritus at the Institute of East Asian Studies of the University of California, Berkeley and Derek Mitchell, a senior fellow at the CSIS. \nKurt Campbell, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs, who is senior vice president of the CSIS, cancelled his trip because of sickness, according to a foreign ministry official. \nAside from visiting both sides of the Strait, the think-tank has held biannual closed-door round-table meetings in New York on US-China ties and cross-strait issues since the 1996 missile crisis, when China launched missiles into the sea off Taiwan.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US