The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Community Affairs Council have proposed classified budgets for next year exceeding NT$1.5 billion and NT$100 million (US$48.81 million and US$3.25 million) respectively, an unnamed government official familiar with the matter said.
The diplomatic situation is “difficult,” and the classified budget was created by the ministry to secure the nation’s diplomatic allies, the source said.
It includes loans allies need for infrastructure, as well as funding for cooperative projects and other items, the source said.
Due to China’s efforts to suppress Taiwan’s international space, President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has lost five diplomatic allies since she took office in May 2016.
The ministry has proposed a classified budget for next year of NT$1.5581 billion, the source said.
Although that is NT$7.627 million less than this year’s classified budget, it will be the second consecutive year that the ministry’s classified budget has exceeded NT$1.5 billion, the source said.
Its classified budget last year was NT$442.487 million, the source added.
The council has designated NT$102.888 million for classified spending next year, the source said.
Classified spending would make up about 7.84 percent of the council’s proposed overall budget of NT$1.312881 billion next year, according its proposal, the source said.
The council’s classified budget would be used to provide subsidies and grants to overseas compatriot communities and overseas Taiwanese businesses, the source said.
As the subsidies the council has given to overseas compatriot communities in previous years have involved national interests, to maintain harmony among them and resist China’s “united front” tactics, the council has been unable to publish the details of this spending online, the source said.
Many leaders of overseas compatriot communities are worried that once funding details are made public, they would come under pressure, the source added.
However, many have accused the council of a lack of transparency, local media has reported.
Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) said that the council last year began designating its subsidies to overseas compatriot communities as classified spending at the request of the legislature.
Meanwhile, the ministry is expected to invest a large portion of its classified spending, nearly NT$670 million, in West Asia and Africa next year, a nearly NT$400 million, or 59 percent, increase from this year, its budget proposal showed.
Since the nation only has one remaining diplomatic ally in Africa, Eswatini, apart from boosting diplomatic relations in Africa, the ministry also plans to use the increased funding to work on relations with non-diplomatic allies in Africa, the ministry said in its proposal.
The ministry has also allocated about NT$290 million — an increase of about NT$79 million from last year — to investments in the Asia-Pacific region, where several of the nation’s diplomatic allies are, its budget proposal showed.
The ministry said it is to continue its efforts to push for mutual visits and exchanges between top-level officials from the nation and its diplomatic allies to deepen ties among them.
It will also seek to address the needs of its diplomatic allies in social and economic development, pushing for bilateral and multilateral cooperative projects under a principle of mutual cooperation, the ministry said.
At the same time, the ministry is to improve relations with non-diplomatic allies, including pushing for mutual visits between government officials and negotiating bilateral agreements, it said.
Additional reporting by Peng Wan-hsin
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students