■ Military Affairs
EU resolution lauded
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed the European Parliament's fourth resolution in just over a year opposing the lifting of an EU arms embargo against China. The European Parliament -- the legislative arm of the EU -- passed the resolution in Strasburg, France, last week, said Wang Yu-yuan (王豫元), director of the ministry's Department of European Affairs. It was the fourth resolution on the matter since Dec. 18, 2003. The latest resolution stipulates that the EU should maintain its ban on arms sales to China until there is a satisfactory improvement in the country's human-rights record. Nevertheless, Wang said that the possibility of the EU lifting its arms embargo against China is increasing given recent developments.
Moderate temblor hits
A moderate earthquake hit central Taiwan yesterday, but no injuries or serious damage were immediately reported, the Central Weather Bureau said. The 5.4-magnitude quake's epicenter was about 31km northeast of Tsaoshan, in a mountainous part of Chiayi County, the weather bureau said. The area is about 200km southwest of Taipei. The tremor was felt across most of central Taiwan, the weather bureau said.
Chen hosts Chadian leader
Chadian President Idriss Deby will arrive in Taipei on Sunday for a three-day state visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. During his visit, Deby will discuss bilateral cooperative projects, African regional issues and the international situation with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the ministry said. The two leaders will sign a joint communique at the conclusion of Deby's visit, the statement said. Deby will travel to Kaohsiung to visit a marine base and Chinese Petroleum Corp's refinery. He will also visit major cultural and economic institutions in the north of the country and meet with local business and industry leaders. Ministry officials said relations with Chad have been cordial since the two countries resumed full diplomatic ties in 1997. Deby has on many occasions spoken out in support of Taiwan's bid to join the UN, the World Health Organization and other major international organizations, the officials said. Deby's trip will be his third to Taiwan.
Plan divides universities
A proposal championed by the Ministry of Education's higher education department for universities to be classified into a number
of categories was the subject of heated debate yesterday during a national conference of university heads. Participants in the panel discussion, which was presided over by Mou Tsung-tsan (牟宗燦), chairman of
the Association of Private Universities and Colleges, were divided on the proposal, in which universities would be
divided into four categories -- teaching universities, research universities, professional universities and community universities. Due to a jump in the number of institutions, universities have shifted from providing an elite education to a universal education, which has resulted in financial pressure, lower quality graduates and low competitiveness, an departmental official said. To iron out these problems, the department proposed that universities be classified into the categories and that the government offer them funds based upon specific needs, the official said.