Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Minister insists that passport procedures are normal practice

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin answers questions about the alleged privileges granted to Vice President Wu Den-yih’s grandson at a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) yesterday insisted that emergency passport application and renewal procedures at the airport are regular services, and said the ministry has no grievances over Vice President Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) complaint that it has failed to promote them.

“There are absolutely no grievances … The ministry authorized the Bureau of Consular Affairs to handle related matters. The procedures [for passport applications] have not been changed,” he said before attending a Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting.

Lin’s comments came in the wake of an incident in which Wu’s daughter was able to get her son’s passport renewed just before boarding a flight on Friday last week.

Facing accusations of favoritism, the bureau later announced that Taiwanese who do not have a passport or whose passport is invalid can have it renewed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as long as they have paid for their flight tickets and they are departing within 12 hours.

Wu, in denying that his daughter had received preferential treatment, said the ministry’s failing to promote the service had led to misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, presenting a report at the Central Standing Committee meeting on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent trip to Paraguay and three of the nation’s allies in the Caribbean, Lin said the trip had enhanced diplomatic ties and raised Taiwan’s international profile as a peace-loving country.

Ma said the trip was part of his administration’s efforts to promote “flexible diplomacy.”

Besides consolidating diplomatic ties with Taiwan’s allies, the trip also enhanced communication with the US during Ma’s transit stops, as US officials gave positive responses to Taiwan’s handling of cross-strait relations, and disputes with Japan and the Philippines over fishing rights, he said.

“We’ve been promoting flexible diplomacy over the years, and we did not waste a penny. All the money was spent legitimately to help us win respect in the international community,” he said.

Ma began his tour on Aug. 11 with a visit to Haiti after a transit stop in New York. He also visited three other Caribbean allies — Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Kitts and Nevis — and Paraguay in South America, where he attended the inauguration of Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes. He returned to Taiwan on Aug. 21.

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