Chien pressed on name
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) said yesterday changing the name of the country to "Republic of Taiwan" would not help the nation's bid to join the UN. "With China enjoying veto power on the UN Security Council, Taiwan cannot be expected to be allowed to join the UN under any designation," Chien said. The minister made the remarks while fielding questions at the Legislative Yuan. During the meeting, KMT Legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) grilled Chien for his views on former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) recent appeals for Taiwan to scrap its current title and enact a new constitution to signify its separate identity from China. Kwan asked whether Taiwan would be able to secure UN membership and win recognition from major foreign countries should it rename itself "Taiwan" or "Republic of Taiwan." Chien initially declined to answer Kwan on the grounds that he is the minister of foreign affairs and not in a position to comment on Lee's remarks. Pressed by opposition lawmakers, however, he said that the ROC could not obtain UN membership even if it changed its designation.
Tzu Chi to aid Iraq refugees
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation (慈濟功德會) is preparing to dispatch a shipment of relief goods to the Middle East in a bid to help the refugees from the US-led war in Iraq, a foundation spokesman said yesterday. Tzu Chi sent 300 gas masks to Jordan via express delivery that day to meet the needs of medical personnel and personnel responsible for coping with a possible influx of refugees from the fighting in Iraq as the military campaign to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein entered its second day, the spokesman said. The Tzu Chi relief goods that are expected to be delivered to Jordan from the end of this month will include a further 200 gas masks, 15,000 blankets, medicine and canned foods, the spokesman said. The canned food will be sourced entirely in Taiwan and is expected to arrive in Jordan in early April, while the medicine has already been purchased in Jordan and is being prepared for distribution, the spokesman said.
Scientology gets recognition
The central government has recognized Scientology as a religion, the Church of Scientology said on Thursday. "At this time of world peril, our recognition in Taiwan reflects a country where diversity is celebrated rather than politicized," said Reverend Heber Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, adding that Taiwan is the 100th government to acknowledge Scientology as a religion.
Hotels report cancellations
With heightened alert around the world following the outbreak of the war, five-star hotels in Taipei reported cancellations of around 10 percent. The US-led Iraq war, coupled with the scare over severe acute respiratory syndrome, has dealt a blow to the domestic tourism market, especially as the specter of terrorist activities has made some Western tourists delay trips. The hotels reported that most of the cancellations over the past few days have been made by residents from the US and Europe. The hotels said most travelers are delaying their trips rather than cancelling them altogether.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on