Conservation efforts praised
BirdLife International is set to grant Taiwan an award later this month in recognition of its efforts to protect the black-faced spoonbill, an endangered species that spends winter on the island, a local wildlife protection group said yesterday. It will be the first time the nation has received such an honor from the global conservation community, Chinese Wild Bird Federation chairman Lin Shih-chung (林世忠) said, adding that the global population of black-faced spoonbills has risen from 300 to nearly 3,000 over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the Forestry Bureau said the central government has allocated NT$19 million (US$639,000) since 1993 for a wide range of conservation projects for black-faced spoonbills, adding that a program was launched last year, which uses satellite and wireless transmitters to track the birds’ migration.
Military fair starts today
An event that exhibits military equipment and allows the public to experience military life will start today in Taipei to promote an upcoming television program jointly produced by the Discovery Channel and Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. The event, to run until June 18 at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, will feature tanks, armored cars, combat rubber boats, Humvees and other military equipment, as well as wartime military antiques, the Discovery Channel said. Taiwan’s special forces and frogmen will also give a display of their combat skills. The Discovery Channel plans to air a program on Tuesday that documents the rigorous training regimens of the nation’s Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance, naval underwater operation unit and Army Rangers. The program will be broadcast in three parts on Tuesday, June 18 and June 25.
Delegation to visit China
Former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) is to join a delegation headed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Honorary Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) that is scheduled to visit China on Wednesday. Wu is to meet on Thursday with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平), who is also China’s president. Su, who served as NSC secretary-general between 2008 and 2010, and who was once considered a core official on cross-strait policy under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, said he “has not been to China for five years” and that he was looking forward to the trip. Su, currently chairman of the Taipei Forum Foundation, a local think tank, added that he has not been given any specific mission for the visit and will engage in no personal activities.
MOFA stands firm on islands
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reiterated yesterday that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and their surrounding waters are part of the territory of the Republic of China. When proposing an East China Sea peace initiative in August last year, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urged concerned parties to put aside territorial disputes over the islands and jointly develop resources in the region, ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said. During an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News on Thursday, Ma proposed three-way talks with China and Japan to discuss issues related to the development of resources in the East China Sea, while repeating his call for the parties to shelve the territorial dispute. Taiwan, Japan and China all claim sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, which are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.