Fri, Aug 30, 2002 - Page 3 News List

All change at foreign ministry

RESHUFFLE The vice minister of foreign affairs will take back his old job as representative to France, while the ambassador to Haiti will be assigned a position in Taipei


Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Chiou Jong-nan (邱榮男) will be Taiwan's new representative to France, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) said yesterday in announcing a series of personnel changes in the foreign ministry.

"This is the first batch of reshuffling of Taiwan's diplomats," Chien told reporters during a luncheon with the media.

The current representative to France, Hsieh Hsin-ping (謝新平), will take over from Lu Ching-long (呂慶龍) as Taiwan's ambassador to Haiti. Lu will be assigned a position in Taipei, Chien said.

Chiou served as Taiwan's representative in France from 1991 to 1996 and Taiwan's ambassador to Haiti from 1997 to 2000.

"With his strong ability in the French language and close relations with France, we hope to strengthen our relations with Paris," Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Katharine Chang (張小月) said. "In addition, this assignment appeals to him."

In other moves, Wu Wen-ya (吳文雅), director-general of the Board of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, will replace Huang Ian-chau (黃演鈔) as representative to Malaysia. Huang will retire.

Chien said that other personnel transfers are being considered.

"Job rotation is a normal part of the diplomatic service," Chien said. "The planned adjustments have been prudently evaluated. Both Chiou and Wu are suitable for their new posts."

Chien said that the government rotates diplomats to help them develop their abilities and talents in the most suitable places.

Chien gave the example of Wu's assignment to Malaysia, where, the foreign minister said, Wu's experience of serving in trade and economic affairs and of overseas work would be of great use in his new job.

"I'm convinced that once he assumes his new post, he will contribute much to the development of substantive relations between Taiwan and Malaysia," Chien said.

Meanwhile, the ministry said it was considering signing accords with developed countries on the issuance of "working holidaymaker visas."

"Japan has signed memorandums of understanding with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France and South Korea on the exchange of `working holidaymaker visas' to encourage exchanges of their youth," a ministry official said.

Under these bilateral accords, Japan allows young people from the five countries to enter its territory for sightseeing and to take up part-time or short-term work.

South Korea has signed similar agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Canada to promote bilateral youth exchanges.

The official said that the "working holidaymaker visas" program has achieved satisfactory results in both Japan and South Korea and has become a welcome forum for international youth exchanges.

"Therefore Taiwan should learn from the Japanese and South Korean experiences in this regard," the official said.

"Allowing a large number of youths from advanced countries [to come to Taiwan] for vacation and short-term work would enable them to have first-hand information about Taiwan's culture and its liberal and democratic lifestyle," he said, adding that those youths could become "friends of Taiwan" in the long run.

Moreover, the official said the program could also be conducive to the government's drive to upgrade local people's English proficiency as visiting foreign youths could serve as English teachers during their vacation in Taiwan.

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