A high-level delegation headed by Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (
The Chen Shui-bian (
The delegation kept a low profile and scrupulously avoided the press during the visit. Both sides had wanted to keep the trip secret but it was leaked to the press earlier this week.
While neither side would give any details, Randall Schriver, the deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, indicated that the referendum issue was one of the topics discussed.
"It's something we know is a very sensitive topic, and it's something that we are watching. And we're willing to hear from the Taiwan side why they think it's important," Schriver told Taiwanese reporters who approached him after he made a public appearance Thursday morning.
Shriver said the referendum decision "is a decision that Taiwan is going to have to make for itself. But I think in terms of the way it's been debated in public in Taiwan, we haven't seen a real compelling need" to conduct the referendums that Chen is currently considering.
"It's been domestic politics, maybe that's what's driving it. If so, it's not necessarily something that we have to proactively support," Schriver said.
However, Schriver declined to discuss any of the other issues that might have come up during the talks with the Chiou delegation.
Washington's reaction to the referendum issue is linked in the eyes of some observers to the arms purchases and Taiwan's overall security posture.
As some US officials see it, Taiwan should not proceed with referendums, which are potentially provocative to China, without assuring its own defensive capability to deal with Beijing's reaction to such provocations, sources said.
The intellectual property rights issue has been a long-standing source of irritation in Washington, which has suspended high-level trade visits between the two capitals in view of the lack of progress by Taipei in halting the illegal copying and distribution of videos, music and other intellectual property.
The delegation was scheduled to meet with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
It was also believed that Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's deputy, was on the list. But it was not known which US trade officials the Taiwanese met.
The group also met with members of the Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and other think tanks.
Yesterday, two of the delegation members, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau and National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Ko Cheng-heng (
Officials from the Pentagon, State Department, National Security Council and American Institute in Taiwan will also take part. Other members of the Taiwanese delegation are DPP foreign affairs chief and legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb