The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it hopes the recent controversy between a Taiwanese taekwondo athlete and the Seoul-based World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) will not affect the new Taiwan-Korea working holiday program.
Applications for the bilateral youth exchange program will be accepted starting tomorrow, said Ger Bau-shuan (葛葆萱) deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The program will allow up to 400 Taiwanese and South Koreans aged between 18 and 30 to apply for one-year multiple-entry visas. During their stays, they will be allowed to take part-time jobs to earn money to fund their visits. Ger said judging from the enthusiastic response to the existing programs, Taiwanese youth are highly interested in taking a “workation” in a foreign country and it is hoped the taekwondo feud will not dampen the public’s interest in South Korea.
Last month, Taiwanese gold medal hopeful Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君) was accused of cheating by the WTF during this year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, for allegedly using non-authorized footgear. Video footage of the match, however, revealed that the sensors were not used during the bout.
Her controversial disqualification ignited a wave of anti-Korean sentiment in Taiwan.
“We hope the controversy will not affect the program. The government has made it clear to the Taiwanese public that what happened to Yang has nothing to do with the Korean people or the government,” he said.
To apply for the program, applicants must provide proof of at least US$2,500 in finances and insurance, Ger said, adding that only those with no criminal record and a clean bill of health would be considered.