Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 5 News List

MAC urges HK, Macau to establish offices here

REPRESENTATION The council said Hong Kong residents and Macanese suffer from the lack of official envoys in Taiwan


The Mainland Affairs Council is hoping that the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau can set up representative offices in Taiwan soon, an council official said yesterday.

Chang Yung-shan (張永山), director of the council's Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, noted that 3,073 students from the two Special Administrative Regions (SARS) are studying in this country, accounting for a third of the overseas students presently in the nation.

In addition, there are also residents from the two regions coming to live in Taiwan, Chang said. As neither Hong Kong nor Macau have set up representative offices in this country, they cannot help deal with problems their residents face while living in Taiwan, he said.

In view of the situation, the department is studying measures to take care of people from the two SARS living here, he said.

But he stressed that "such a unilateral move will not be comprehensive" and he expressed the hope that the two SARS will address the issue squarely and set up offices here.

However, he went on, Hong Kong has not responded positively or showed any intention to set up an office, despite having been contacted by the council.

In contrast, Macanese residing in Taiwan have exerted greater pressure in their government, and as far as his department understands, Macau has heeded their voices and is now studying the issue, he said.

Chang also spoke of the visa application of Pao Cheng-kang (鮑正剛), Taiwan's new representative to Hong Kong, expressing the hope that the territory will pragmatically address the importance of Taiwan-Hong Kong affairs and grant the visa application speedily.

He expressed hope that the review procedure of Pao's application will be faster than that of his predecessor, Chang Liang-jen (張良任), who had to wait for three months before getting his visa four years ago.

Facts and figures

* 3,073 students from Hong Kong and Macau are studying in Taiwan

* Other residents of the two former colonies also live in this country

* Mainland Affairs Council officials have contacted Hong Kong about setting up a representative office but the territory has been unresponsive

* Macau authorities are reportedly studying the issue

* Taiwan has representative offices in both places

He also said that both the council and Taiwanese business-people are watching closely economic and political developments in Hong Kong.

Saying that it has been three months since the signing of a closer economic partnership arrangement between China and Hong Kong, he added that it will take six more months to see the effect of the pact on the territory.

Chang also noted the greater restrictions that have been placed on Hong Kong by Beijing authorities, despite the calls by the people in the territory for more democratic rights to select their leaders and legislators.

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