Flights talks planned
Taiwan hopes to reach a consensus with China next week on guidelines allowing increases in the number of direct flights across the Strait instead of relying on a hard cap, a Taiwanese official said yesterday. Taiwan and China are scheduled to hold talks on cross-strait flights in Taiyuan, the capital of China’s Shanxi Province, from Monday to Friday, according to Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). CAA Director-General Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said that because Taiwan and China hold talks on increasing flights almost every six months, he hoped the two sides could finally agree on a set of rules governing such increases in the future, instead of simply raising the cap again. A maximum of 558 weekly passenger flights are currently permitted between Taiwan and China.
Vanessa Shih sworn in
Former envoy to Singapore Vanessa Shih (史亞平) was sworn in as the new vice foreign minister yesterday, making her one of the few female diplomats to take up the post in the country’s history. Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) praised the 49-year-old’s expertise in diplomacy and mass communication, which he said made her the ideal candidate for the post. Shih was promoted for her “extraordinary performance” in Singapore between 2009 and last year, which helped accelerate bilateral trade talks, Yang said. Taiwan is now in talks with Singapore over a free-trade agreement formally known as the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership. Shih returned to Taiwan from Singapore earlier this year amid rumors that she offended the Singapore government by making contact with the country’s opposition party and displaying Taiwan’s national flag at an event. She denied the reports.
Tianjin mayor to visit
Tianjin City Mayor Huang Xingguo (黃興國) will head a Chinese delegation to Taiwan from tomorrow to Friday to participate in events around the country, including a meeting on port cooperation between the two sides. Huang was invited by the Taiwan-based Chinese National Federation of Industries. During the six-day trip, the delegation will visit Taipei, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung. Huang said his administration would assist Taiwanese businesspeople based in his city with finance, labor shortage and market expansion issues. To show support for Taiwanese firms, Taiwanese companies have been included in a new program launched this year to help small and medium-sized firms in China expand their financing channels and export markets, Huang said. There are 2,147 Taiwanese companies in Tianjin City, with total investment reaching US$11.3 billion and an annual growth rate of 30 percent.
Wine tourism promoted
Taiwan may be known for its high-tech sector, but its wines have also been rising in prominence internationally, and the country is eager to promote tourism based on its wineries. This year, four Taiwanese wines received recognition at international competitions, according to the Agriculture and Food Agency. Taiwan has won four gold and 15 silver medals at major wine competitions in the world, according to the agency, which said it hoped Taiwanese would put the wineries on their summer travel agendas.