Tchen to lead association
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced on Monday that he will appoint Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀), a former chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs, as the new secretary-general of the National Cultural Association. Chen made the announcement at a dinner party of the association, of which Chen serves concurrently as president. Tchen is to fill the vacancy left by Su Chin-chiang (蘇進強), who quit the post after being elected chairman of the Taiwan Solidarity Union. Tchen told reporters she is pleased and honored to take Chen's offer and pledged to follow Su's path and promote the nation's culture building on the foundation that Su has laid. Tchen is also an ambassador at large and a presidential advisor.
Officials promote childbirth
The government must equally encourage childbirth and the formulation of constructive immigration policies to ensure that the nation is prepared to face changing population demographics, a senior official said yesterday. Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Chairman Yeh Jiuun-rong (葉俊榮) made the remarks at a seminar. Noting that the steady decline in the birth rate and the influx of migrant workers has given rise to very complicated social problems, Yeh said the country must tackle these challenges because of their close relation to social, economic, environmental, medical and educational developments and resources distribution. Quoting the latest official tallies, Yeh said that the average local couple now gives birth to an average of 1.2 children, falling below the ideal number of two children per couple. Moreover, Yeh said that one out of every eight babies were born to a couple with one spouse being a foreigner; one out of every three married couples involves a foreign spouse and one out of every three foreign spouses hails from China. In the 1950s, Yeh said, each couple gave birth to an average of seven children. The number dropped to five in the 1960s and plunged to 2.1 in the 1970s.
Kau illuminating Germans
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) is visiting Germany to explain the nation's stance on China's proposed anti-secession law and the proposal to lift the EU arms embargo against Beijing, an anonymous diplomatic source said yesterday. Kao, traveling at the head of a delegation consisting of Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Huang Wei-fong (黃偉峰) and Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), a former secretary-general of the Executive Yuan, met figures from various German quarters on Monday, the source said. At a news conference, Huang told German journalists that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is that there are two political entities, one on either side of the Strait. China's proposed anti-secession law, however, would unilaterally change the status quo, because it defines the two sides as a unified nation, he said. Many polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Taiwanese are opposed to the anti-secession law, Huang said, warning that tension will increase in the Taiwan Strait if Beijing enacts the legislation in March. Taiwan might enact a countermeasure law if that happens, he said. Beijing's hardliners may use the law as a means to legalize the use of force to invade Taiwan, Huang said. He said the EU would be regarded as endorsing Beijing's anti-secession law if it approves the lifting of the arms ban.