Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday blasted Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo (楊榮文) for telling the UN that actions by Taiwan's independence groups could lead to war with China. \n"Singapore holds China's lan pa (卵葩, LP) with its hands, if I may use these ugly words," a fuming Chen said. \nIn the Hoklo language (also known as Taiwanese), lan pa means "testicles"; saying that someone holds another's lan pa means that he is fawning over that person. \nChen was speaking during a meeting with a pro-independence group which had requested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs change the name of Taiwan's representative office in Japan to better express Taiwan's sovereignty. \nChen lamented Taiwan's status in the international community, saying "even a tiny garden country like Singapore, which only has 3 million people, can criticize us." \n"Singapore is a country only as big as a piece of snot," he added. \nThe minister, who returned from the US yesterday, was clearly irritated by Yeo's speech in the 59th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last Friday. \nYeo told the General Assembly that "the push towards independence by certain groups in Taiwan is most dangerous because it will lead to war with mainland China and drag in other countries ... At stake is the stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region." \nTaiwan's 12th bid to join the UN failed earlier this month. \nQuoting Yeo's statement to the pro-independence group yesterday, Chen said people in Taiwan need to persevere if they want to survive. \n"Where is justice in the world? This world has no justice," Chen said. "When [Singaporean Prime Minister] Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) visited us two months ago, we treated him very well. He came under tremendous pressure [from China] after the trip." \nChina's pressure influenced Singapore to make the speech in the UN, but "Yeo's remarks went too far," the minister complained. \nBut Chen said Yeo had done at least one good thing by delivering the UN speech. \n"Yeo mentioned that some people in Taiwan want independence," Chen said. "Many countries probably didn't know there are people in Taiwan desiring independence before Yeo talked about it." \nThanks to Yeo's statement, these countries would now "realize our ambition" to achieve independence, he said. \nThe independence group had appealed to Chen to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan by replacing the word "Taipei" with "Taiwan." The group said the name downgraded the country's status as a state. It asked the ministry to negotiate with the Japanese government about the name change as soon as possible. \n"I think the group made the right appeal," Chen said. "Many of us are not clear what our national title is. Even I, as foreign minister, often forget the names of our overseas representative offices. This is ridiculous." \nChen was referring to the various names Taiwan's overseas representative offices have been forced to adopt to prevent political pressure from China being applied on those countries. \nMeanwhile, the minister also said that the arrest of Donald Keyser, the former US deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, would not affect Taipei-Washington relations. Chen stressed that Taiwan wanted to maintain good ties with the US. \n"Taiwan has no reason to steal classified information from the US," he said.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...