Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Defense
Arms exchanges approved

The US House of Representatives on Friday authorized President George W. Bush to sell an Anchorage-class dock landing craft to Taiwan and step up exchanges between the US military and Taiwan's armed forces. In its National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2005, the House of Representatives also requires the secretary of defense to undertake an exchange program of senior military officers and civilian officials of the Department of Defense with Taiwan designed to improve the nation's defenses against China. These exchanges will focus on threat analysis, military doctrine, force planning, logistical support, intelligence collection and analysis, operational tactics, techniques, and procedures which relate to defending Taiwan against submarine and missile attacks.

■ Diplomacy

Yu seeking trade pacts

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said on Friday that the government is seeking to sign free trade agreements with the US, Japan and other countries. At a meeting with leaders of the country's six major business groups, Yu said that the free trade agreement signed between Taiwan and Panama last year has produced fruitful results. It is more important to sign similar accords with larger countries in terms of their economic scale, such as the US and Japan, he added. In addition to Beijing's obstruction, Yu said, various issues must be resolved before Taiwan can sign a free trade agreement with the US, including the protection of intellectual property rights, opening of telecommunications market, rice imports and pharmaceutical products. Yu assured the business leaders that his Cabinet would do its utmost to sign free trade accords with more countries and develop Taiwan into an international operations, logistics and capital-raising center.

■ Diplomacy

Fishery ties promised

The Marshall Islands' President Kessai Note said yesterday that he will continue to work to strengthen fishery cooperation between his country and Taiwan. Note and his wife, who paid a visit to Ching Fu Shipbuilding in Kaohsiung City's Cijin district, said they were very impressed with the deep-sea fishing ship Fongsian 668, which was recently built by Ching Fu Shipbuilding, the largest private shipbuilding company in Taiwan. The Marshall Islands have abundant fishery resources, and Taiwanese tuna boats have frequently anchored at its capital, Majuro, for supplies and maintenance since the signing of a fishery cooperation agreement in 1998. Note reiterated that he values the fishery cooperation between his country and Taiwan.

■ Diplomacy

Tuvalu PM visits Kaohsiung

Tuvalu Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoanga visited Kaohsiung Friday. Sopoanga, who attended President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inauguration ceremony on Thursday, was warmly greeted by Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and leaders of the shipbuilding industry and the fishery sector. In addition to attending a luncheon party hosted by Hsieh and Wang Shun-lung (王順隆), president of the Taiwan Deep-Sea Tuna Boatowners and Exporters Association, Sopoanga toured shipbuilding and fish-processing companies. Tuvalu is one of the most important bases for Taiwan's fishing vessels in the South Pacific, with 33 fishing boats that are registered with the Taiwan Deep-Sea Tuna Boatowners and Exporters Association operating in its waters.

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