The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday insisted that its chief, Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊), who also serves as the vice chairman of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, did nothing wrong when he penned a letter to the president of the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) without first notifying the chairman of the foundation, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
MOFA acting spokesman James Chang (章計平) said Ou did not need to seek Wang's authorization before writing a letter to NED president Carl Gershman because Ou was acting in his capacity as the foundation vice chairman.
The ministry made the comments in response to a media report that Ou had been out of line when he wrote the letter without Wang's approval.
In May, Gershman wrote a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urging him not to interfere with the foundation's structure and policies after it was reported that under Beijing's influence, the Ma administration planned to make major changes to the foundation's governing board and to prevent it from offering financial support to pro-democracy movements in China, Tibet and Cuba.
“It has come to my attention through reports in the press that broad changes are being proposed for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. I am concerned that such an overhaul could well compromise both the Foundation's independence and the quality of its work,” Gershman wrote.
In the letter dated June 29, Ou said the personnel reshuffle reflected the current political balance in Taiwan and that it was carried out in a democratic manner. Ou cited Article 8 of the foundation's charter, which states that half of the board members must come from political parties that hold 5 percent or more of the seats in the Legislative Yuan. As such, the TFD board changes after each legislative election, he wrote.
Ou also appealed to the US to respect the sovereignty and the rule of law in different countries. He said he hoped that the NED would show similar deference to Taiwan's due process.
Speaking yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), of the legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee, said Ou should have notified the speaker before writing the letter.
“The organic laws [of the foundation] do not state that the vice foundation chairman should not write letters to personnel abroad or should notify the chairman before doing so, but it would have been more courteous if [Ou] had done so,” Lin said.
KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞), who also serves on the foundation's board, said Ou should have informed all of the foundation's board members before sending the letter to Gershman.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up