Chen calls Paraguay leader
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday congratulated Nicanor Duarte Frutos on his winning Paraguay's presidential election, and invited Duarte to visit Taiwan. "I hope through our mutual effort, the traditional friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay will become closer," Chen told Duarte in a telephone conversation. Duarte invited Chen to attend his inauguration on Aug. 15. "After things have settled down, I would love to make an official visit to Taiwan," Duarte told Chen.
Chen hails Mongolia ties
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday described the exchange of representative offices with Mongolia as highly encouraging and said he was overwhelmed by the diplomatic achievement. Meeting a group of Mongolian prosecutors -- led by State Public Prosecutor General M. Altankhuyag -- at the Presidential Office, Chen said he was pleased that the two countries finally opened liaison offices after more than six years of negotiations.
■ Cross-strait ties
Kinmen patrols stepped up
Coastal patrol authorities on Kinmen have increased patrols in the waters around the outlying island to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from spreading from China to Kinmen. Fu Chin-jung (傅錦榮), a commander of the Kinmen Patrol Team, said two patrol boats have just arrived in Kinmen to join the patrol team, which enforces the law and regulations governing civilian exchanges between the people on Kinmen and China. Under the government's three small links policy, people on Kinmen can directly do business with their Chinese counterparts from certain ports. The patrol team hopes to prevent the spread of SARS from China to Kinmen through illegal contacts, such as smuggling.
Foreigners to get leaflets
Taipei City's Bureau of Labor Affairs has said it will print leaflets in four languages providing information on SARS for the benefit of foreign workers. The leaflets, printed in Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese and English, will be offered free to domestic employers and foreign workers at various sites in the city where foreign workers frequent. Bureau officials said foreigners could also get information online at www.bola.taipei.gov.tw. The Cabinet-level Council of Labor Affairs also opened hot lines in the four languages over the weekend to offer free SARS-related consultations for foreign workers. The numbers are: 0800-885-885 for English, 0800-885-995 for Thai, 0800-885-958 for Indonesian and 0800-017-858 for Vietnamese.
More face masks donated
Overseas Taiwanese have donated more than 90,000 face masks to provide safeguards for physicians and nurses combating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), said deputy chief of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) yesterday. Wu expressed his gratitude to California-based Taiwanese and their counterparts in Thailand who have launched a campaign to transport over 90,000 masks to Taiwan to help contain the spread of SARS.