Chien pressed on name
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) said yesterday changing the name of the country to "Republic of Taiwan" would not help the nation's bid to join the UN. "With China enjoying veto power on the UN Security Council, Taiwan cannot be expected to be allowed to join the UN under any designation," Chien said. The minister made the remarks while fielding questions at the Legislative Yuan. During the meeting, KMT Legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) grilled Chien for his views on former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) recent appeals for Taiwan to scrap its current title and enact a new constitution to signify its separate identity from China. Kwan asked whether Taiwan would be able to secure UN membership and win recognition from major foreign countries should it rename itself "Taiwan" or "Republic of Taiwan." Chien initially declined to answer Kwan on the grounds that he is the minister of foreign affairs and not in a position to comment on Lee's remarks. Pressed by opposition lawmakers, however, he said that the ROC could not obtain UN membership even if it changed its designation.
Tzu Chi to aid Iraq refugees
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation (慈濟功德會) is preparing to dispatch a shipment of relief goods to the Middle East in a bid to help the refugees from the US-led war in Iraq, a foundation spokesman said yesterday. Tzu Chi sent 300 gas masks to Jordan via express delivery that day to meet the needs of medical personnel and personnel responsible for coping with a possible influx of refugees from the fighting in Iraq as the military campaign to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein entered its second day, the spokesman said. The Tzu Chi relief goods that are expected to be delivered to Jordan from the end of this month will include a further 200 gas masks, 15,000 blankets, medicine and canned foods, the spokesman said. The canned food will be sourced entirely in Taiwan and is expected to arrive in Jordan in early April, while the medicine has already been purchased in Jordan and is being prepared for distribution, the spokesman said.
Scientology gets recognition
The central government has recognized Scientology as a religion, the Church of Scientology said on Thursday. "At this time of world peril, our recognition in Taiwan reflects a country where diversity is celebrated rather than politicized," said Reverend Heber Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, adding that Taiwan is the 100th government to acknowledge Scientology as a religion.
Hotels report cancellations
With heightened alert around the world following the outbreak of the war, five-star hotels in Taipei reported cancellations of around 10 percent. The US-led Iraq war, coupled with the scare over severe acute respiratory syndrome, has dealt a blow to the domestic tourism market, especially as the specter of terrorist activities has made some Western tourists delay trips. The hotels reported that most of the cancellations over the past few days have been made by residents from the US and Europe. The hotels said most travelers are delaying their trips rather than cancelling them altogether.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for