Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

AGENCIES

DPP legislators Tsai Chi-fang, Lin Chung-mo , and Hou Shui-sheng, left to right, hold a press conference yesterday to unveil their ``Three Amigos School,'' whose training they said would improve the quality of the legislative branch.

PHOTO: YEH CHIH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

■ Diplomacy

No official Malaysian visits

Malaysia, mindful of Singapore's diplomatic rift with Beijing, has instructed all ministers to steer clear of official visits to Taiwan, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday. He said Kuala Lumpur accepted the Chinese government's demand that countries it had diplomatic ties with adhere to its "one China" policy. "We fully accept the `one China' policy and the Cabinet has instructed that all ministers obey the one-China policy and not visit Taiwan because this can offend the Chinese government," Najib told a news conference. He was speaking after meeting Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄), vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, adding the general had said Beijing wanted its policy supported by all other countries.

■ Constitution

Women's groups meet Su

Women's rights activists said yesterday that mainstream values of gender equality should be enshrined in a new or amended Constitution. Representatives from women's rights groups made the pitch during a meeting with Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌). The meeting was arranged as part of Su's project to solicit opinion from civic groups on President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) program to revise the Constitution, which was outlined in his May 20 inauguration speech. Claiming that gender equality had become a mainstream value, the groups said the concept should be enshrined in the Constitution. In response to their suggestions, Su said the constitutional revision program is mainly aimed at formulating a "fit, timely and viable" Constitution.

■ Charity

Fan-fan joins charity tour

As a part of the promotion for the 30-Hour Famine, World Vision Taiwan president Tu Ming-han (杜明翰) and a team of volunteers spent eight days traveling in Afghanistan with pop-star Fan Wei-chi (范瑋琪), better known as Fan-fan. "It was like we had stepped out of a time machine and gone back 2000 years, out of the civilized world," Fan-fan said of her Afghan experience. "Seeing those children, some with very slim chances of surviving more than a few days, I found myself questioning the meaning of life," she said. "But it made me feel proud to know that our compassion could reach such a faraway place, and to know that the children were glad to hear we were Taiwanese." Among the facilities the group visited were a World Vision-funded girls' school and a children's hospital.

■ Diplomacy

Korean envoy visits Hsieh

Hwang Yong Shik, South Korea's new representative to Taiwan, paid a visit to Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday, expressing his desire to boost bilateral tourist and cultural exchanges. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations between South Korea and Taiwan, Hwang said the two countries have maintained cordial substantive ties. Hwang expressed his gratitude for Hsieh's assistance to Korean expatriates in Kaohsiung, including the establishment of a Korean school. Hsieh expressed the hope that the two countries can resume direct air links soon. Taiwan suspended direct air links with South Korea in 1992. "If direct flight services resume, I'm convinced that bilateral civilian exchanges will increase further," Hsieh said. According to official tallies, Taiwanese made more than 80,000 visits to South Korea in the first four months of this year.

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