Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Agencies, with Staff writer

DIPLOMACY

Thailand crisis monitored

The government yesterday said it is closely monitoring the situation in Thailand after the Thai military declared martial law in a bid to quell months of protests and tensions between the Thai government and opposition. “We are keeping close tabs on the situation in Thailand,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said. The ministry and Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand are prepared to take “response measures,” she added. “The representative office immediately launched an emergency response mechanism shortly after the announcement [of martial law] was made,” she said. She said that no Taiwanese have thus far been affected, but urged anyone visiting or residing in Thailand to be alert.

TRAVEL

Visa privileges expanded

Republic of China passport holders can enjoy visa-free entry or landing visas in 140 countries and territories after five more places extended such privileges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. The African countries of Togo, Cape Verde and the Union of the Comoros, as well as Papua New Guinea in Oceania have granted landing visas to Taiwanese, the ministry said. The British territory of Anguilla in the Caribbean has also begun allowing Taiwanese to stay for up to six months visa-free, the ministry said. The four countries and one territory are the latest on a now long list of visa-free or landing visa destinations for Taiwanese, including the US, Canada, the Schengen Area of Europe and Japan.

HEALTH

Chiu meets US counterpart

Minister of Health Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) on Monday met with US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, where the two talked about health issues in Taiwan. Chiu said after their 20-minute private meeting that he and his US counterpart had touched on Taiwan’s efforts to combat the recent resurgence of rabies and H7N9 avian flu. He also conveyed his appreciation for Sebelius’ long-term support for the nation’s participation in the WHA. Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑緹), director-general of the Health Promotion Administration and a member of the Taiwanese delegation, said she briefed Sebelius on campaigns to address obesity during the meeting. This is the sixth consecutive year in which Taiwan has received an invitation to attend the annual meeting of the top decisionmaking body of the WHO. The WHA began meeting on Monday and is set to run until Saturday in the Swiss city.

DIPLOMACY

New UK envoy appointed

Representative to Canada Liu Chih-kung (劉志攻) has been reassigned as top envoy to the UK, according to a statement issued by the Presidential Office. Liu, a career diplomat, is to replace Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), who has been appointed representative to the US. It is not known when Liu will take up his new post. He has been serving as the representative to Canada since 2012 and previously worked as deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council and as the representative to the Czech Republic, among other posts. Liu has also served in diplomatic positions in the US, South Africa and Mongolia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) declined to confirm Chinese-language media reports that Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, will succeed Liu in Ottawa.

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