Regardless of the name given to Taiwan's mission to the WTO in the trade body's new directory, its rights and obligations will not be affected, a WTO spokesman said yesterday.
Beijing is pressuring the WTO to downgrade the name of Taiwan's mission in the directory, which contains contact details, such as phone numbers, of WTO member states' missions in Geneva.
Noting that the directory has not been updated for three years, WTO chief spokesman Keith Rockwell said in a phone interview that differences between Beijing and Taipei that are delaying an update of the phonebook are "a political problem."
The problem, said Rockwell, is "beyond the scope of the WTO," but the WTO is trying to find ways forward and compromise regarding how to update the phonebook.
He stressed that Taipei's rights in the WTO "will not be affected," regardless of how the new phonebook will be presented.
He also dismissed speculation that China has threatened to block WTO Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi's possible appointment to lead a significant UN agency if he fails to yield to its demand to change the name of Taiwan's mission to the WTO in the directory.
Supachai's term of office as WTO director-general will expire on Aug. 31.
China wants to reduce the status of Taiwan's mission in the directory to that of Hong Kong and Macau, and remove all words containing sovereignty connotations from letters exchanged between the WTO and the mission, according to Taiwanese officials familiar with WTO operations.
China, which has vigorously sought to lower the status of Taiwan's mission, pressured Supachai to alter the name of the mission and its diplomats' titles by threatening to affect the official's chance to lead the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNITAD), sources said.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last month proposed Supachai as a candidate to head UNITAD. China, however, suggested that his possible appointment be suspended as Annan had not informed 77 developing countries of his selection of Supachai in advance, according to sources.
By threatening to block Supachai's possible assignment to lead UNITAD, sources said, China intended to compel him to yield to its demand to change the name of Taiwan's mission and its diplomats' titles in the new directory.
Rockwell, however, dismissed this as rumors.
"I have no reason to believe that is true," he said.
The official name of the Taiwan mission to the WTO in Geneva is "Permanent Mission of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu to the World Trade Organization."
China wants the WTO Secretariat to replace "permanent mission" with "office of permanent representative" in the directory, according to a Taiwanese official, who requested anonymity.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (
The Swiss government has conferred the titles of "ambassador" and "minister," respectively, on Yen Ching-chang (
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number