Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

■ DIPLOMACY

Envoy to US approved

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed yesterday that the US had approved the appointment of Jason Yuan (袁健生) as the nation’s envoy to the US. Yuan is expected to begin his job next month. “The ROC [Republic of China] representative office in Washington received formal notice of the US’ approval of the appointment on Friday afternoon,” said Harry Tseng (曾厚仁), director-general of MOFA’s Department of North American Affairs, at a press briefing. “Yuan is well-connected in the US as he has been working there for a long time. His excellent experience and educational background make him very suitable for the post,” Tseng said.

■ DEFENSE

Ma to attend Han Kuang

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will be in a command center to observe the annual Han Kuang series of military exercises, the Ministry of National Defense said on Monday. It did not confirm when Ma would participate in the simulation. The computerized warfare simulation began on Sunday and will end on Friday, while live-fire drills will be held from Sept. 22 until Sept. 26. Ministry spokeswoman Lisa Chi (池玉蘭) said it would be inappropriate for the ministry to disclose when the president would be present at the Hengshan Command Center for the exercises. Sources at the ministry said this year’s war games would break with past practice of holding air, sea and land defense drills, and would instead spend one day on sea warfare and four on land warfare, with a ground war in the northern parts of the country and a diversionary battle in central and southern Taiwan.

■ POLITICS

Ma accepts apology

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) respected National Chengchi University’s decision not to renew former Ministry of Education deputy-general Chuang Kuo-rong’s (莊國榮) contract, adding however that Ma did not want that decision to prevent Chuang from finding employment elsewhere. Wang told reporters that Chuang had apologized for the remarks he made about Ma and his family and that Ma had accepted the apology and chosen to drop the matter. Chuang is a young academic and the public should give him another chance, Wang said. Chuang sparked controversy during the presidential campaign in March when he implied that Ma’s late father had had a salacious relationship with his goddaughter.

■ CRIME

DPP opposes amendment

Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) complained yesterday that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Ching-chi’s (吳清池) proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (刑事訴訟法) would deprive defendants of their right to appeal convictions. “Most defendants — about 95 percent of them — will not be able to appeal if Wu’s proposal is approved,” Lai said during a press conference yesterday morning. At present, the code stipulates that only cases with a potential sentence of six months or less are ineligible for appeal with the high court. Through his amendment, Wu is seeking to increase the threshold from six months to two years. Quoting studies, Lai said that of those convicted last year, 95 percent were convicted and sentenced to less than two years in prison. Under Wu’s system, such people would no longer be able to appeal their verdict, he said, adding that “Wu’s proposal will actually violate defendants’ legal rights.”

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