Panama delays Beijing trip
China said yesterday that Panamanian First Vice President Arturo Vallarino had postponed a planned visit to Beijing. His trip had raised concerns that Taipei was about to lose another diplomatic ally. "Vallarino has decided to postpone his visit to China until next year because of personal reasons," a Chinese foreign ministry official said.
Vallarino had been scheduled to visit China from tomorrow through Sept. 7 at the invitation of a thinktank affiliated with the Chinese government. The visit, which would have become Vallarino's second in four years, had been widely interpreted as a move designed to pave the way for Panama-China relations. Beijing said last week that it was keen to set up diplomatic relations with the Central American country.
University inks pact
US-based Microseal LLC and the I-Shou University signed a memorandum yesterday to jointly develop micro and nano technologies for security and anti-counterfeiting use. Li Yien-chie (李彥杰), director of the university's research center, said the school's work with Microseal will help increase the commercial applications of micro and nano technologies. Li said Microseal's work can give every product a unique and nearly invisible "fingerprint" that cannot be counterfeited, therefore the technology can be applied to products ranging from ID cards, passports and visas to bank notes, jewelry and pharmaceuticals. University president Fu Shen-li said that in addition to offering equipment and experts in engineering, administration and legal services for the program with Microseal, the school will also set up an exclusive research and development center to develop applications for Microseal's products.
Hospital offers interpreters
Jen-Ai Hospital in Tali City, Taichung County, has set up an International Patient Center to accommodate the growing medical needs of the foreign community in Taichung. The center has recruited a group of volunteers to provide free interpreter services in more than a dozen languages, ranging from English, French and Thai to Tagalog, Burmese and Hakka. The volunteers will be available during regular hospital hours while the center also plans to arrange three-way telephone interpretation via conference calls. The hospital, however, is recommending people call at least three days in advance to make sure the desired interpretation service is available.
Envoy speaks for farmers
Taiwan's permanent representative to the WTO, Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), said in Geneva yesterday that Taiwan is of the position that the needs of new members should be taken into account in the agricultural negotiations at the upcoming Fifth Ministerial Conference of the WTO. Yen said Taiwan is very concerned about the rights of new members in the agricultural negotiations, which will be high on the agenda at the September meeting. The conference is set for Sept. 10-14 in Cancun, Mexico. As the outcome of the agricultural negotiations is expected to have a significant impact on Taiwan's economy, Yen said, the government has sought to safeguard the rights and interests of Taiwan's farm population. Yen said that it is impossible to apply a unified solution to all members, adding that the rules should be more flexible.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last