Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

President embarking on ‘freedom’ tour

DUBIOUS DEGREE?Tsai Ing-wen showed off her degree in a video amid rumors about its existence, but skeptics have called for her to publish her dissertation

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen, left, holds up her diploma from the London School of Economics and Political Science at an event in Taipei on Tuesday.

Photo: Screengrab from President Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook page

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is today to embark on a 12-day visit to four Caribbean diplomatic allies, with symbolic stopovers in two US cities — New York and Denver, Colorado — the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

In previous visits by the nation’s presidents to diplomatic allies, stopovers in the US — which angered Beijing — were usually seen as an indicator of Taiwan-US relations. Through which cities the president transited and with whom they met were taken into account, and regarded as sensitive and important.

Tsai is to visit Haiti; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Saint Lucia on the trip, dubbed the “Tour for Freedom, Democracy and Sustainability” in an itinerary released by the ministry.

The stopover in New York is symbolic, as the city is considered one of the US’ most influential metropolises and is a cultural, financial and media capital.

However, the details of Tsai’s itinerary while in the city were not revealed.

Tsai is to arrive in Denver on Friday next week and meet reporters in an informal gathering the next day to share the results of the visits.

In Haiti, the president is to tour a Taiwan trade exhibition with Haitian President Jovenel Moise and attend a state banquet.

Tsai will then proceed to Saint Kitts and Nevis, where she is to stay for four days and three nights.

While there, she is to witness the signing of cooperation agreements between high-level officials and meet with Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris and Governor-General Tapley Seaton.

She is also to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for an ocean park and a wreath-laying activity at a monument.

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where she is to stay for two days and one night, Tsai is to meet with Saint Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and witness the signing of an agreement to combat transnational crime.

She is also to deliver a speech at the Saint Vincentian House of Assembly, as well as dine with Taiwanese expatriates and recipients of the Taiwan Scholarship Program.

On her last stop, Saint Lucia, Tsai is to meet with Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Governor-General Emmanuel Cenac.

She is scheduled to return to Taiwan on July 22.

Separately, Tsai displayed her doctoral degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) while applying for an account at a social media start-up in Taipei, seemingly addressing rumors questioning her degree.

A video published on her Facebook page yesterday shows her visiting the start-up, Dcard, on Tuesday.

Founded by Kytu Lin (林裕欽) and Oscar Chien (簡勤佑) when they were students at National Taiwan University’s Department of Information Management, Dcard began as an anonymous online forum in 2011 before they established the eponymous firm in 2015.

When applying for an account, Tsai was requested to present her diploma. She offered her doctoral diploma with a steel seal granted by the LSE on March 14, 1984, the video shows.

In her profile’s self-introduction, Tsai lists cooking; keeping cats and dogs; reading; and international commercial negotiations as her hobbies and specialties, the video shows.

“Those were my specialties before I became a politician. My specialty now is being president,” Tsai says in the video to amused laughter. “Remember, my specialty is being president.”

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