Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Health
Taiwan must join WHO: Chen

President Chen Shui-bian yesterday (陳水扁) stressed the importance of Taiwan obtaining access to the World Health Organization (WHO). Speaking at a ceremony to honor senior medical workers, Chen said the reappearance of SARS in Taiwan has reminded the world of the loophole in its anti-epidemic frontline caused by Taiwan's absence from the WHO, which coordinates the global efforts to fight epidemics. Noting that Taiwan succeeded in overcoming the disease on its own earlier this year, Chen said the episode brought home to both the international community and the country that epidemics know no political boundaries and that the world's attempts to bring epidemics under control are hampered by shutting Taiwan out for political reasons. Now that the disease has reappeared in Taiwan due to the negligence of a scientist engaged in SARS research that caused him to become infected by the disease on Dec. 17, the president said the case serves as a warning to both the world and the country that Taiwan should be included in the WHO as soon as possible.

■ Culture

Austronesian fest opens

The 2003 Austronesian Cultural Festival opened yesterday in Taitung, focusing on the weaving and knitting skills of Austronesian civilization. The festival, organized by the Taitung County Government and the National Museum of Prehistory in Taitung City, is the final large-scale tourist activity to be held by the government this year. It will run through Dec. 30. In addition to Taiwan's 10 Aboriginal groups, the organizers have also invited performance troupes from Canada, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Hawaii to take part. Festival-goers will be able to get a better understanding of the movements of the Austronesian people and of their marine and terrestrial cultures. On the evening of Dec. 31 there will be a party, featuring various types of music, including jazz and Latin from Cuba and Brazil.

■ Economics

Trade with China up 29.4%

Trade between Taiwan and China amounted to US$44.63 billion in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 29.4 percent over the same period of last year, according to a report by the New China News Agency. The report quoted an official of China's Ministry of Commerce as saying that the outbreak of SARS earlier this year had little impact on cross-strait trade, because 80 percent of Taiwan's investments in China are in manufacturing industries. In the first 10 months of this year, Chinese imports from Taiwan totaled US$39.59 billion, an increase of 28.7 percent over the same period of last year. China's exports to Taiwan totaled US$7.04 billion in the same period.

■ Architecture

Skyscraper fails to impress

Plans to build the world's tallest skyscraper in New York barely caused a ripple yesterday in Taipei, home to the building that currently claims that title. The island's media paid little attention to the plan announced in New York on Friday to build a 532.8m glass tower on the site where terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and other buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. The New York structure, dubbed the Freedom Tower, would top Taipei 101, which stands at 502.8m. A Taiwanese architect said no one expected Taipei 101 to stay the world's tallest building forever. "With technology advancing constantly, it's only a matter of time before a higher building will be completed," Richard Lee said.

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