Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

DEFENSE

Ministry denies marines plan

The Ministry of National Defense reiterated yesterday that it has no plans to scrap the marine corps in its next streamlining plan. The marines will continue to carry out duties such as amphibious operations, rapid reaction, counterterrorism operations and disaster rescue and prevention, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said. Lo made the statement after dozens of retired marines staged a protest outside the ministry building in Taipei against a downsizing plan involving a restructuring of the corps. The plan aims to cut the number of troops to between 170,000 and 190,000 from the approximately 220,000 at present. Some reports said that the corps’ Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit will be incorporated into the army under the plan. The protesters expressed concern that the restructuring will weaken the corps and said they would mobilize more retirees for future protests if the ministry “continues to use bureaucratic language” in response to their concerns.

SOCIETY

Balloon festival to begin

The Taiwan International Balloon Fiesta opens today at Taitung County’s Luye Township (鹿野), with a variety of shows and activities planned. This year’s festival is to open with a concert at Seashore Park, with more events scheduled for June 13, June 27, July 11, July 25 and Aug. 10. For the first time, participants will have a chance to “walk in a balloon” — to take a close look at the inside of a balloon. Balloon rides are to be offered on each day from 5:30am to 7:30am and 5pm to 7pm.

DIPLOMACY

EU winners congratulated

The nation has extended its congratulations to the newly elected members of the European Parliament and aims to continue its efforts to improve ties with Europe under the new leadership, Zhang Ming-zhong (張銘忠), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of European Affairs, said yesterday. Voting took place across the 28-nation EU from May 22 until Sunday to elect members of the 751-seat parliament. Zhang said some members of the existing European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group were re-elected. Taiwan will continue its efforts to engage them and will seek to develop relationships with the newly elected parliamentarians to improve ties with Europe, he added. The European Parliament has expressed support for an economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the EU and the nation’s participation in international organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, the ministry said.

DIPLOMACY

Ibaraki delegation arrives

A delegation from Japan’s Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly arrived yesterday to promote tourism and discuss the possibility of chartered flights between Taiwan and the prefecture. The delegation is to call on officials at the Tourism Bureau and at the Taipei-based Association of East Asian Relations, which handles ties with Tokyo in the absence of diplomatic relations, said Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙), deputy director-general of the foreign ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Kuo said that as part of its efforts to promote Ibaraki, the delegation, comprising members of the Liberal Democratic Party, will explore the possibility of launching chartered flights between Taiwan and the prefecture, which opened a new airport in 2010. At present, there are regular direct flights between Taiwan and Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido.

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