■ Cross-strait ties
Beijing eyes foreign airlines
China is considering allow-ing foreign companies to participate in cross-strait direct air and sea trans-portation operations, a Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday. China's Minister of Communications Zhang Chunxian (張春賢) said there was "no problem" for foreign shippers and airliners to join the direct link operations, when questioned by Taiwanese reporters Wednesday in Beijing. But they needed to comply with some pre-requisites for such opera-tions, Zhang said without elaborating. His remarks reversed Beijing's policy on the issue, as Chinese officials had always ruled out the possibility of foreign parti-cipation in direct cross-strait transport, the paper said. Beijing has officially consi-dered transport routes to Taiwan as "domestic."
Ping Lu chides Hong Kong
The nation's unofficial representative in Hong Kong yesterday took a gentle swipe at the territory, saying it could do with a little more culture. "Hong Kong has never put its emphasis on its cultural identity," said Ping Lu (平路), director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center. Hong Kong's economic successes have been enviable, but that has steered its residents to focus on statistics and money while the people of Taiwan have more leisure time and are typically in a "more literary mood," the novelist said. "People in Hong Kong concentrate a lot of their attention on goals," she said. "People seldom have a chance to ponder what they really need inside." An offi-cial at Hong Kong's Leisure and Cultural Services Department had little to say in response. "It's difficult to comment on her remarks as they are rather abstract," said June Tong, a leisure marketing coordinator. "Those are also her personal comments."
Taiwanese at CSW meeting
Ten representatives from a host of Taiwanese women's groups are in New York to take part in the annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which opened Mon-day at the UN headquarters. The delegates are taking part in the general meeting and peripheral discussions in their capacity as non-governmental organizations, said Chang Chueh (張玨), chairwoman of the Mental Health Association and the delegation leader. According to Chang, delegation mem-bers are scheduled to host four seminars on issues pertaining to women in Asia designed as sideline activi-ties of the CSW general meeting. The meeting, which runs until March 14, focuses its agendas on roles that women play in mass media along with issues of abuse and violence toward women, Chang said.
Soong visits Fukuoka
PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) called on Fukuoka Mayor Hirotaro Yamasaki yesterday to discuss exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. During the meeting, also attended by high-ranking officials of the Fukuoka city government, Soong said the main purpose of his visit was to throw out the first pitch to open a baseball game between the Daiei Hawks and the Seibu Lions. He said he hoped the Hawks could play in Taiwan. Soong also praised the Fukuoka Dome, saying that the Taiwanese would like a similar stadium. Yamasaki said that among foreign visitors to his city, Taiwanese are second only to South Koreans in terms of numbers and he expressed hope that his city can increase exchanges with Taiwan.