Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday backed the Tourism Bureau’s decision to withdraw from last month’s Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) Travel Mart after the organizer insisted on changing the bureau’s name to “Taiwan Strait Tourist Association.”
The annual trade show, which had been scheduled to run in conjunction with the Sichuan International Travel Expo in Sichuan, China, was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must defend our national sovereignty and dignity. Taiwan is Taiwan, and China cannot obliterate Taiwan’s existence by simply changing the bureau’s name,” Lin said.
Photo courtesy of the Tourism Bureau via CNA
“China’s oppression of Taiwan would harm itself and others. The nation can share with the world how it has effectively contained the COVID-19 outbreak, which is key in developing the tourism industry,” he said. “Despite the withdrawal, we will continue sharing our disease-prevention experiences with the international community through other channels.”
Lin also wrote on Facebook that China had “used its political influence to interfere in the affairs of PATA, a non-governmental organization.”
“It has been proven that China will not win itself any real respect from the international community with its diplomatic threats and economic incentives. Leaders from the US, France and the Philippines have all criticized and challenged China in their addresses at the UN General Assembly this year,” Lin said.
The Bangkok-based association was established in 1951. Taiwan, a founding member, joined under the title, “PATA Chinese Taipei Chapter.”
This year’s PATA Travel Mart was sponsored by the Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau of Lehsan, a city in Sichuan.
The Tourism Bureau used the name “Taiwan Tourism Bureau” to register for the event, which opened on Sept. 23.
However, on Sept. 9, the bureau discovered that its title had been changed to Taiwan Strait Tourist Association. It lodged several protests against the change.
“We were hoping to share with other participants our disease-prevention efforts and how they have contributed to a booming domestic tourism market, and some of them had interacted with us through the platform before the event opened,” Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) said. “After we found out on Sept. 9 about the name change, we tried to correct the error by ourselves by going to our Web page for the event. However, the Web page had been removed.”
Chang said that the bureau also attempted to address the issue by sending an official document to PATA headquarters.
PATA responded by saying that the Chinese government had stipulated that no individual or organization could participate in the online event without its approval, Chang said.
“We again issued an official statement and sent it to PATA to protest against such practice and indicate that we were withdrawing,” he said. “We hope that the situation will not happen again in PATA travel marts in other countries.”
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —