Mon, Dec 26, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan, US negotiating on diplomatic immunity

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan will review an agreement signed with the US to ensure Taiwanese diplomats in the US eventually enjoy full diplomatic immunity, Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生) said on Saturday.

The right of “inviolability of the person” of Taiwanese diplomats in the US will be Taiwan’s focus of discussions, Yuan said.

His remarks come in the wake of the detention of a Taiwanese diplomat on labor fraud charges.

Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, has been detained since Nov. 10 on charges of overworking and underpaying Philippine housekeepers.

The case sparked a legal dispute between Taiwan and the US over diplomatic immunity. Taiwan has argued that Liu should be granted immunity, while the US says Liu enjoys a status similar to that of consular officers, which means she has immunity only for acts performed within the scope of her authorized functions.

Yuan said an agreement on privileges, exemptions and immunities signed by Taiwan and the US in 1980 was far from perfect and that the two sides were willing to review the pact. The representative office will continue to correspond with the US Department of State on the matter, he said.

“This would be mutually beneficial. What is good for Taiwan will also be good for the American Institute in Taiwan, and we hope to find a way that will be good once and for all,” Yuan said.

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