The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday rebutted a report in yesterday’s Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) alleging that Taiwan’s representative to Indonesia was forced to leave a promotional event in October quietly through the back door after the Chinese ambassador threatened to boycott the event if the Taiwanese delegation stayed.
Quoting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), who claimed to have heard the news first-hand from Taiwan’s representative to Indonesia, Timothy Yang (楊進添), the report said Yang was invited by the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to attend a promotional event for orchids, but was asked to leave because the Chinese ambassador refused to appear at the same venue as the Taiwanese diplomat.
Tsai said such incidents proved that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) so-called “diplomatic truce” with Beijing was useless and not at all reciprocated by Beijing.
Acting spokesman James Chang (章計平), however, said the report was false and that Yang was able to attend the entire event.
Chang said that prior to the event, Yang was scheduled to be seated on the right-hand side of the aisle as a distinguished guest. However, the Chinese delegation complained that the right-hand side was reserved for members of the diplomatic corps whose countries enjoy official diplomatic relations with Indonesia and that Yang should therefore be moved.
Refusing to disclose the manner in which the Chinese protested, Chang said the Chinese simply “said that the arrangement [for Yang’s seating] was inappropriate.”
Yang was eventually asked to move to the left-hand side of the aisle and was seated with other important guests and stayed throughout the event.
Chang said the event took place in October, only five months after Ma came into office. The incident should therefore not be used to disparage the effectiveness of Ma’s truce, he said, adding that the public should look forward to forging a better relation with China.
Asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) criticized the government’s diplomatic strategy, saying that the “diplomatic truce” had turned into “diplomatic humiliation.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US