In an recent interview with a foreign media outlet, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) reiterated that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country and said that he hopes to draft a new constitution to normalize cross-strait relations during his second term in office. \n"I am a history maker and I have two historic missions," said Chen in an interview with the Time Asia. \n"First, I want to hand over to the 23 million Taiwan people a timely, beneficial and suitable constitution before my tenure ends in 2008," Chen said. "Second, I want to normalize cross-strait relations during my tenure, and reopen cross-strait negotiations. I hope that the two sides can engage in a dialogue for peace." \nPrefacing his position by saying that "Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country and a country in which freedom, democracy, human rights and peace are upheld and respected," Chen pointed out that "if Taiwan was not an independent country, it would not hold direct presidential elections." \nChen also stated in the interview that Taiwan "would not exclude the possibility of establishing any kind of political relationship, so long as it has the consent of its 23 million people." \nAsked if rewriting of the Constitution is tantamount to a declaration of independence, Chen said constitutional reform does not involve national sovereignty, national territory or the question of independence versus unification. He also said that those who interpret constitutional reform as a declaration of independence are making a grave mistake. \nThe constitutional-reform project is an issue of consolidating and deepening Taiwan's democracy, Chen said. \n"Beijing's authorities distort our process of democratization and call it a move toward formal independence," Chen said. \nChen also added that in the time between his May 20 inauguration speech and his National Day address, Taiwan "extended more than 30 olive branches [to Beijing]." \n"We will take whatever actions are needed to improve cross-strait relations and to ensure permanent peace across the strait. Even though the other side has never responded with good will over four-plus years, we are not giving up," he said. \nNoting that the US government had told him in private that they welcomed his National Day speech and that Beijing would react to his goodwill, Chen said "the US government also asked [him] to be patient. There is still an opportunity there." \nOn the national defense front, Chen stressed the necessity for Taiwan to build up sufficient self-defense capabilities. \n"Regarding our purchasing of Patriot PAC-III anti-missile system, China accuses Taiwan of being provocative and of attempting to disturb peace across the Taiwan Strait," Chen said. \n"Most people in the world have forgotten, however, that China has deployed 610 ballistic missiles along its southeastern coast targeting Taiwan and that these missiles are increasing at a rate of about 50 to 70 per year," Chen said. \nWhile the interview won't appear in Time Asia until its Nov. 15 issue, the magazine posted the transcript of the interview on its Web site. \nMeanwhile, in a recent interview with the Economist, opposition Chinese Nationalist Party Lien Chan (連戰) claimed that Chen is aggressively pushing for Taiwan's independence and has a timetable for it. \nOn response to Lien's claim, the Presidential Office issued a statement stressing that the president had made clear of his stance on the country's sovereignty in his May 20 inauguration speech as well as the National Day address on Oct. 10. \nThe statement said Lien should not made groundless accusations against the president -- which may cause the public to be alarmed. Critics should not misrepresent what Chen said for personal political gain, the statement added.
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local