Vuylsteke quits AmCham
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei said yesterday that its executive director had tendered his resignation, effective February next year. Richard Vuylsteke accepted a new position as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the organization said in a statement. He will assume his new position on Feb. 25. The AmCham board in Taipei will form a committee to appoint Vuylsteke's successor, the statement said. Vuylsteke had been in the position since August 1999. The chamber is Taiwan's largest and most active foreign business organization, with 900 members representing 470 international firms.
Huang voices concern
Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) yesterday contacted French Representative to Taiwan Jean-Claude Poimboeuf to express his concern over French President Nicolas Sarkozy's remarks that France opposes Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on UN membership. Sarkozy told Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) during his visit to Beijing on Monday that Taiwan's UN referendum plan was a mistake and assured China that his country supported Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of its territory. "It's regrettable that Mr Sarkozy made the remarks and we were surprised too, as democracy, freedom and human rights are the founding ideals of France ? It's quite beyond my government to understand why Mr Sarkozy holds such a view about the UN referendum," Huang said. Huang told Poimboeuf: "It's a pity that Mr Sarkozy was willing to compromise on a referendum, a core value of democracies, on account of the deals he signed with China worth about 20 billion euros [US$30 billion]."
Tu wants greener schools
Colleges and universities in particular must do their part to promote a greener learning environment, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) said yesterday at the opening of an exhibit on making schools more responsible consumers of energy. Tu said that the nation's 161 colleges and universities use up 63 percent of the energy consumed by all schools, whereas the 400-plus high schools and vocational schools and the 3,000-plus junior high and elementary schools only use 18 percent of the total. Tu urged college and university presidents to follow the example of their US counterparts, referring to the 284 college leaders who signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in June to make school operations carbon-neutral.
Another referendum salvo
China has again prodded the US to oppose Taiwan's proposed referendum on UN membership and warned Washington to stop arms sales to Taiwan, Chinese state media said yesterday. The referendum was aimed at "de jure independence" and "posed a grim threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on Monday. "Opposing and obstructing the referendum" was in the interests of both China and the US, Xinhua news agency quoted Yang as saying. Yang was in the US to attend the Middle East peace conference. "The Chinese side urges the US side ... to stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan and not to send wrong signals to the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration," Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.