Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Crime

Drug smugglers get death

Nine Taiwanese people convicted of smuggling heroin into China have been sentenced to penalties ranging from death to life in prison, a newspaper reported yesterday. The Taiwanese and a Chinese accomplice were convicted of smuggling 3.9kg of heroin in travelers' luggage into the southeastern port of Xiamen last year, the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily said. Xiamen is the closest Chinese port to Taiwan. A court in Xiamen sentenced four of the Taiwanese to death and four to death with a two-year suspension, the newspaper said in its overseas edition. The other Taiwanese and the Chinese defendant received life in prison. One of those sentenced to death was identified as Chen Jinzhong and one of those with a suspended death sentence as Jian Hongrong. Suspended death sentences in China often are commuted to life in prison if the convicts are deemed reformed.

■ Politics

King supports Chinese law

Cambodia's retired king Norodom Sihanouk has endorsed China's "Anti-Secession" Law, which authorizes military action against Taiwan if it pursues formal independence. Sihanouk, in a statement seen yesterday on his official Web site, said he, his wife and former Queen Monineath -- as well as their son, current King Norodom Sihamoni -- "wish to support 100 percent the rightful stance of the People's Republic of China on the Anti-Secession Law." The statement, in the Cambodian language, was dated Friday. Sihanouk, 82, is a close ally of China, which provided him refuge after he was removed from power in a 1970 coup in Cambodia. He is currently in Beijing receiving medical treatment.

■ Diplomacy

Berger accepts invite

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger on Friday accepted an invitation from visiting Republic of China Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to visit Taiwan in August. Lu, who is currently on a three-day visit in Guatemala, called on Berger Friday and presented him with a satellite photo of Guatemala City, capital of the Central American country, taken by the satellite ROCSAT-II. Lu extended an invitation to Berger to visit Taiwan to attend the inauguration of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) on Aug. 14. Lu and her counterparts from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua earlier attended a DPU regional meeting in Guatemala. The DPU, the brainchild of the vice president, will be comprised of representatives of Pacific democracies to create a new alliance in the Pacific region to advance democracy, peace and prosperity. Berger accepted the invitation and expressed the hope that the two countries could sign a free trade agreement (FTA) by then.

■ Business

Dane envisions design hub

Danish designer Frederick Rickmann said yesterday that he expects Taiwan will become a regional design hub by 2015 because of continued advancement of investments and education in the field of design. The chief executive and design director of the design company Designnord made the comments while calling on Johnsee Lee, president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Rickmann is visiting the country at the invitation of the ITRI to lecture at a three-day ITRI seminar titled "Methods for Innovated Design with Modern Thoughts," which will begin March 24.

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