MOFA urges UN action
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday urged the UN to comply with common practice in permitting the deposit of Taiwan's Instrument of Accession to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC, created in 2003, is aimed at promoting awareness about the detrimental effects of tobacco on people's health, requires warning labels on tobacco products, prohibits promotional advertisements for tobacco products and seeks to control smuggling of tobacco and reduce supplies of tobacco. Taiwan has been working hard to implement the spirit and contents of the convention, MOFA said, adding that the Legislative Yuan approved the FCTC in January and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) then issued the Instrument of Accession.
No Japan stop for president
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday denied reports that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will make a transit stop in Japan during his upcoming Central American trip. The president is scheduled to travel to Nicaragua later this month to attend a summit meeting with the leaders of diplomatic allies in Central America and several Caribbean countries. The minister said that "there is no plan to make a stopover trip in Japan." He also said that the ministry had not heard anything about a Central American summit being postponed. He added that with the UN General Assembly scheduled to convene this Tuesday, and national leaders set to converge in New York for the occasion, it had been difficult to adjust to the itineraries of the Central American leaders who will attend the world body's gathering.
MRT to hold drill
Some sections of Taipei City's MRT system will be temporarily suspended this afternoon in order to accommodate the Wanan No. 28 air raid drill scheduled to take place today between 2pm and 2:30pm, said the Taipei Rapid Transit Co. During the half-hour drill, MRT trains running on the Muzha Line, the Xiaobitan Line and the Damshui Line north of Yuanshan Station will have their services suspended. Underground trains will not be affected during the drill and will operate as normal, the Taipei Rapid Transit Co said. All MRT passengers should follow the MRT station staff's instructions upon arrival at stations during the duration of the drill, they added.
Syria refuses visas
The Arab Republic of Syria has refused to issue visas to Taiwan's official representatives to the Afro-Asian Rural Development Conference (AARDO) as a result of political pressure from the Chinese government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. Daniel Liao (廖東周), deputy director-general of MOFA's department of international organization, said that the government has taken action to protest Syria's conduct. Council of Agriculture Minister Lee Ching-lung (李金龍) has sent a letter to the organization's secretary asking Syria not to violate the organization's regulations. The Republic of China (Taiwan) has been a member of AARDO since 1968 and has been actively engaged in conducting related seminars during these years, Liao said.