Seoul visa waiver extended
The nation and South Korea have agreed to extend the maximum number of days allowed under a bilateral visa waiver programs from 30 days to 90 days, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Steve Shia (夏季昌) said yesterday. The extension of the visa validity period will take effect on July 1, Shia said, adding that the move would further promote interpersonal exchanges and contribute substantiality to the development of bilateral relations. Taipei and Seoul reached the visa waiver agreement in 2003 and direct air links resumed in 2005 after a 14-year break since 1992, when South Korea switched diplomatic recognition to China.
Ex-security adviser visiting
Former US National Security adviser James Jones arrived in Taiwan yesterday to discuss bilateral issues with high-ranking officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement. Jones, chairman-designate of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center of International Security, is leading a delegation on a two-day visit, it said. He is expected to meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添), Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) and Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥). The visit is expected to provide Jones with a better understanding of Taiwan-US relations and boost his support of bilateral ties, the statement said. The military veteran served as US President Barack Obama’s national security adviser from 2009 to 2010.
Coach sentenced over death
The district court of Hsinchu County on Wednesday sentenced a cheerleader coach to six months in jail for professional negligence resulting in the death of a cheerleader, but granted him a three-year suspended sentence because he expressed deep remorse over the incident. According to the ruling, Chiang Ching-hsiang (江慶祥), who coached a team of cheerleaders at China University of Technology, was negligent in allowing amateur cheerleaders to practice throwing routines that were banned at the school and without appropriate safety precautions. Due to his actions, Chiang was held liable for the death of a female cheerleader, surnamed Feng (馮), who died in November last year during an outdoor training practice.
Singaporeans visit south
A delegation of Singaporean medical officials visited Greater Kaohsiung’s Chang Gung Medical Foundation yesterday as part of efforts to expand the liver disease treatment market in the city-state. Headed by K. Satkunanantham, the director of the Singaporean Ministry of Health’s medical services, the delegation visited the foundation’s liver transplant center, where Satkunanantham asked foundation superintendent Chen Chao-long (陳肇隆) how to develop Singapore’s liver disease treatment market. Taiwan’s liver disease treatment market prospered because competition resulted in improvements in medical technology, said Chen, who in 1984 became the first doctor in Asia to complete a liver transplant. Taiwan allows hospitals to apply to set up liver transplant centers, a policy that has led to the establishment of 23 such centers. Singapore only allows two public medical organizations to operate liver transplant centers, which means there is little competition in the market and less