The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday confirmed that the number and scale of its overseas diplomatic missions would be reduced, citing the need to reallocate available resources to meet the nation’s strategic and diplomatic needs.
The ministry said it would disband fewer than 10 of its embassies and overseas missions to allocate resources for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “new southbound policy,” Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said at a legislative session on Tuesday.
When asked about it on Wednesday, Lee said the decision was “informed by concerns over costs and strategic effect,” in addition to the needs of the “new southbound policy,” adding that the number of overseas missions the ministry has is “excessive.”
The decision to reduce in the number of diplomatic missions was made after careful deliberation, he said, adding that the ministry would consider its options before committing to closing missions and embassies.
The ministry said the reduction in the number and scale of diplomatic missions is being made in light of concerns over diplomatic strategy, fiscal constraints and limits on the resources available to the ministry, with the goal of maximizing the impact of each overseas mission.
The nation’s 117 diplomatic missions have been panned by pundits as bloated and many offices are said to be lacking in efficiency or a reason for existing.
Pragmatism is necessary when conducting diplomacy, former foreign minister Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) said.
Ou said he supports the idea of closing representative offices that do not contribute to promoting the nation’s diplomacy.
Taiwan is a mid-sized nation and “it does not make sense” that the number of its overseas representative offices surpasses those of some larger nations, he added.
Ou said that many of Taiwan’s representative offices only exist to provide consular services to expatriates living there and do little in the way of diplomatic work.
However, some diplomats have voiced opposition to the planned reductions.
A senior foreign affairs official said there is “no problem” with the number of representative offices.
The issue lies in the leadership of some of them, he said, adding that some representatives make no effort to improve Taiwan’s relations with their host nation.
The ministry should carry out reform to better train the heads of its overseas representative offices instead of reducing the number of missions, the official said, adding that there are increasing opportunities for international cooperation in public health, aviation safety and food safety.
As early as 2012, lawmakers and Control Yuan members had accused the ministry of establishing overseas missions that served no purpose or were underperforming.
The Chinese-language United Daily News reported that the Tripoli mission in Libya is virtually deserted, the Yokohama mission in Japan has few assigned tasks and the only service provided by the Frankfurt-am-Main mission in Germany is greeting Taiwanese officials who visit the city.
“We can easily do away with 30 missions,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed high-ranking foreign ministry official as saying.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease
A 35-year-old man has undergone a 3D endoscopic mastectomy, after having injected himself with more than 3 liters of soybean oil over eight years. The man, whose name was not revealed, had complained that his breasts were becoming loose and losing their shape, said Chunghwa Christian Hospital Endoscopic Mastectomy Center director Lai Hung-wen (賴鴻文), who performed the surgery last year. At age 27, the man began searching for inexpensive breast augmentation methods, before learning about soybean oil injection from a cosmetic surgery Web site, Lai said. Over the past eight years, the man injected himself at home 10 times, starting with about 50ml