President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended the proposal to establish representative offices for the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in China and for the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in Taiwan, adding that the two sides would not unfurl national flags at such offices.
“There will be no national flags or other kinds of flags designed to specify cross-strait relations inside or outside the offices because we are not foreign nations to each other,” he said yesterday during an interview with the Chinese-language United Evening News.
Ma said the services offered by the representative offices would include handling travel documents, but visa issuance would not be performed.
The Mainland Affairs Council said Taiwan plans to set up three representative offices in China and is unlikely to allow Beijing to set up 10 offices in Taiwan for now. The two sides will continue to negotiate the number of offices on each side, the council said.
The establishment of the cross-strait representative offices has drawn criticism from the opposition camp. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said that the move could damage the nation’s sovereignty, adding that China could use the offices as a channel for intelligence gathering in Taiwan.
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) reiterated that Taiwan’s offices in China would solely deal with consular affairs and protecting Taiwanese residing in the country.
Ma said that the government would adhere to the Constitution in establishing the representative offices.
Proponents of the move say that while the government will not acknowledge the existence of China as an independent nation, it cannot deny the government on the other side as an authority with governing rights.
The say the opening of SEF and ARATS offices is in line with Ma’s China policy and is aimed at enhancing cross-strait ties.
Authorities are reviewing the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), which governs legal matters between people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, in relation with the proposed offices.
FOSSIL CLUES: The bushfires resulted from a positive Indian Ocean dipole event, when the region east of the ocean becomes drier, professor Shen Chuan-chou said The bushfires that swept through Australia last year were connected to a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), which is expected to become more frequent due to climate change, a geologist studying coral fossils said yesterday. National Taiwan University Department of Geosciences professor Shen Chuan-chou (沈川洲) since 2001 has been working with Australian and US researchers to study climate systems in the Indian Ocean. Led by Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences professor Nerilie Abram, the team published a paper on IOD in the journal Nature on March 9. The bushfires resulted from a positive IOD event, when the
Senior judges yesterday met to discuss the constitutionality of a law that makes adultery a criminal offense, before being ordered by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to set a date for a constitutional interpretation within the next month. The judges met to discuss Article 239 of the Criminal Code on offenses against marriage and family, after 18 judges had called for a constitutional interpretation of the issue. Taipei District Court Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) said that while he had previously tried adultery cases and never questioned the law, his feelings changed when trying a case last year involving baseball star Wang
Instead of hating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), help change it, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said, as he urged young people to join efforts to reform the party. As the nation marked Youth Day on Sunday, Chiang said in a Facebook post that he wanted to remind people that “the KMT used to be very young.” Now, when people think of the KMT, they equate it with older people, he wrote. “Even if [the KMT] is a 100-year-old party, it must maintain a young mentality, and understand what young people want and what they want the KMT to do,” Chiang wrote.
A survey has found that 37.3 percent of transgender people in the nation have experienced gender-related discrimination or bullying in the workplace, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said yesterday. The alliance’s survey showed that 55.41 percent of transgender people said that they had been afraid to use a public restroom, 18.53 percent had been harassed or attacked in public, while 15.83 percent had been afraid to ask a police officer or other professional for help. The survey, conducted from March 14 to Wednesday last week, was based on 518 valid responses from transgender people aged 14 to 78, the