Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Cross-Strait Ties

China to hold wargames

China was gearing-up yesterday for large-scale military wargames aimed at "taking control of the Taiwan Strait," with 18,000 troops and the amphibious landing of a tank brigade, state press reported. The exercises were to take place this month and next on Dongshan Island, the New Express Daily said, citing a pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper. The soldiers will be deployed from the land, navy and air force of the Nanjing Military Region. "Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets will be outfitted with KN59M guided air-to-surface missiles in an effort to maintain control over the Taiwan Strait and ensure that tank brigades can make a landing and engage in warfare," the report said. Submarines, war ships and a guided missile brigade would also be involved in the exercises that were to be led by Lieutenant General Huang Jiang, it said.

■ Politics

DOH appointment made

The general manager of the National Health Insurance Bureau, Chang Hong-jen (張鴻仁), is set to take up the No. 2 position in the Department of Health (DOH), DOH head Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said on Monday. Chen revealed Chang's new post on Monday during a farewell party that the DOH had thrown for outgoing deputy director Lee Lung-teng (李龍騰). With Chang's new appointment, Chen is left with two positions to fill in the department. Chang's former position as head of the insurance bureau and the Center for Disease Control director's position remains unfilled. Chang's appointment comes after Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lai Ching-te (賴清德) turned down Chen's offer last week.

■ Diplomacy

Scandal no problem: official

Taiwan's ambassador to Costa Rica, Wu Tzu-dan (吳子丹), said Monday that a controversy involving the alleged use of funds donated by Taipei to pay salaries of Costa Rican foreign ministry officials would not harm relations between Taiwan and Costa Rica. Wu told La Nacion newspaper in an interview printed Monday, that he had not requested information from the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry regarding the funds. "Although we are concerned and interested in knowing, we maintain a very respectful attitude towards Costa Rica," Wu said. La Nacion reported recently that Taiwan had given about US$15,000 per month to pay the salaries of 31 foreign ministry staff and US$7,000 to complement the salaries of 13 more ministry officials. According to reports Monday, Taiwan sent about US$4.8 million in the last few years.

■ Crime

Former minister convicted

Former vice education minister Lin Chao-hsien (林昭賢) yesterday was sentenced to 12-years in jail by Taipei District Court for his implication in the Jin-Wen Institute of Technology and the Jin Wen Group corruption scandal. Former education minister Kirby Yang (楊朝祥) was found not guilty because of insufficient evidence. Former minister without portfolio Chang Yu-hui (張有惠) was also not guilty. The Jin Wen scandal (景文案) first made headlines when the group found itself in a severe financial crisis in 2000. Group Chairman Chang Wan-li (張萬利) was accused of embezzling more than NT$920 million from the Jin-Wen Institute of Technology and Lin was suspected of being bribed by Chang and aiding in the embezzlement when Lin served as the director of the Taipei City Government's bureau of education in 1993. Lin said in a press release that he was unwilling to accept the verdict and he will appeal the case.

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