S Korea tourism robust
The recent turmoil on the Korean Peninsula has had limited impact on South Korea’s tourism, a South Korean official said yesterday. The country has received about 32,000 tourists a day since tensions escalated between the two Koreas earlier this month, a jump of 5 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the Korea Tourism Organizations aid. Shim Jeong-bo, the organization’s executive vice president for marketing, added that South Korea would launch several worldwide promotional campaigns later this year, with Taiwan expected to play an important role in boosting tourism. Many of the campaigns, including lucky draws for cash prizes, will be offered for passengers taking direct flight services between Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Seoul’s Gimpo Airport, which Shim said has generated a large influx of Taiwanese tourists. According to the organization, about 130,000 Taiwanese visited South Korea in the first quarter of the year, up 7.7 percent compared with a year ago.
Doctors cancel Lee trip
Former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) office said yesterday in a press release that his planned trip to Japan this month has been canceled after a regular medical check-up. The office quoted Lee’s medical team as saying that while the 90-year-old was in fairly good health, they recommended that Lee, who has been hospitalized twice this year, avoid taking long trips. Lee was scheduled to deliver speeches in Tokyo and Zama City in Kanagawa Prefecture. The office said a Japan visit in the future would still be possible if Lee’s health permitted. Lee last visited Japan in September 2009.
Cross-strait trade talks done
Taiwan and China have concluded negotiations on a cross-strait agreement on trade in services and will soon sign a pact, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭) said yesterday. Under the terms of the agreement, Taiwan would be granted preferential treatment, Cho said at a forum on the government’s strategies to help Taiwanese businesses expand into global markets. Regarding Taiwanese investment in foreign countries, Cho said that Taiwanese businesspeople have changed their strategies and investment targets in light of the global economic stagnation and changes in China’s business environment. For instance, Taiwanese investors have shifted their focus from Southeast Asia to China, he said. They would opt to venture into other countries only after they have established footholds in China and Southeast Asia, he added.
NIA polls foreign spouses
More than two-thirds of foreigners married to Taiwanese are from China and more than 10 percent of the country’s elementary-school students are now from families with one foreign parent, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said. An agency report submitted to the legislature showed that there were 475,160 foreign spouses as of the end of February, 92.9 percent of whom were female. The majority of foreign spouses are from China, Hong Kong and Macau, which account for 320,709, or 67.5 percent, of all foreign spouses, followed by Vietnam with 87,712, or 18.5 percent, the agency said. It also cited Ministry of Education figures showing that 11.78 percent of the 1.37 million elementary-school students have a foreign parent, as do 4.91 percent of the nation’s 844,884 junior-high school students.