Japan reaffirms support
Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi reiterated yesterday Tokyo's support for Taiwan's participation in all activities of the World Health Organization (WHO) as an observer. Kawaguchi's comment came after the steering committee of the World Health Assembly (WHA) refused to put Taiwan's bid for observer status on the agenda. "Japan and Taiwan have shared close economic and personnel exchanges, so the Japanese government remains firm in its stance regarding the island country's bid to participate in all WHA activities as an observer," Kawaguchi told a news conference. Speaking at the WHA meeting, Japanese Vice Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Yoshio Kimura said a certain country has not obtained substantive assistance from the WHO in its fight against SARS, thus posing a great impact on its neighboring countries, including Japan.
Africa Day event postponed
The African Day celebration originally scheduled for Friday evening has been postponed in light of the SARS outbreak in the country, according to Ambassador John Cummings of Liberia. The annual event was scheduled to be held at the Grand Formosa Regent in Taipei to commemorate the freedom and unity of African states. "We thank you [invited guests] for your kind understanding and please accept the assurance of our highest consideration," said Malawi Ambassador Eunice Kazembe, chairperson of the African Missions, in a statement. The event will be rescheduled depending on the development of the SARS outbreak, the organizers added.
Envoy set for new role
National policy adviser Lee Tsai-fang (李在方), tipped as the new representative to South Korea, is due to sworn in tomorrow afternoon before taking up his post in Seoul by the end of this month, sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. "I'll leave for Seoul by the end of this month," Lee said prior to a round of intensive meetings at the ministry yesterday afternoon. His predecessor in Seoul, Lee Chung-ru (李宗儒), resigned last month and has been tipped as the new director-general of the ministry's Department of African affairs, the ministry said.
Fan Kuang-chun takes over
Provincial Governor Fan Kuang-chun (范光群) will serve as acting commissioner of Hualien County until a new government chief is elected in three months, Premier Yu Shyi-kun announced yesterday. Yu made the announcement during a visit to the eastern county to pay his respects to Hualien Commissioner Chang Fu-hsing (張福興) who died of lung cancer on Sunday. "As Fan will fulfill the functions of office on a provisional basis, there will not be any major policy shifts nor personnel changes during his stint," Yu said, adding that Fan's main missions will be handling by-election affairs and overseeing the prevention of SARS. Under the terms of the law, a by-election must be held in three months to elect a new commissioner to serve out the tenure left by Chang. Chang took office on Dec. 20, 2001 for a four-year term.