President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday denied Beijing had played a role in his decision to delay accepting international aid following Typhoon Morakot.
Ma said his administration considered international assistance humanitarian in nature, not political, adding that the country had received cash and non-cash donations from the US, Japan, Singapore, China, Australia, Germany and other countries.
“We don’t have any political sort of attitude toward these donations,” he said in English at a press conference for foreign correspondents at the Presidential Office. “They are purely humanitarian.”
When asked whether China played a role in his decision-making process, Ma said “No, not at all, not at all.”
Earlier yesterday, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) questioned whether China interfered in the government’s delay in appealing for foreign aid, asking Ma to offer a clear account of whether he had waited until Beijing agreed to donate money before he asked for international assistance.
Lu said she would like to know whether political considerations played a role and outweighed the lives of Taiwanese people and Taiwan’s sovereignty.
“If the first priority of the country’s president is to gauge the attitude of other countries, it is bitterly disappointing,” she said.
Lu said Ma owed the public an explanation on whether he accepted China’s assistance under the condition that he reject international aid and not declare a state of emergency.
Lu also raised the question of whether Washington and Beijing capitalized on the disaster to engage in a power struggle, saying that Washington conveyed via the media that the US military was ready to help as a means to pressure the Ma administration.
While Ma has become the main target of criticism, Lu said it was not totally fair to compare the performance of Ma and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) because Lee had served as president for 12 years before the 921 Earthquake happened so he knew how to be a president and commander-in-chief.
“Ma is still learning how to be a president and does not know how to exercise his power as commander-in-chief,” she said. “Premier Liu Chao-shiuan [劉兆玄] should be condemned for failing to do a better job since he has experience with relief efforts from the 921 Earthquake.”
Lu proposed postponing year-end local elections until new administrative zones are drawn. She suggested establishing a special administrative zone for the 30-odd Aboriginal villages. She also suggested the president appoint a head of the special region and the central government take charge of disaster prevention and relief work.
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Rakuten Girls squad leader Ula Shen said she was surprised that baseball fans outside of Taiwan not only knew of them, but also knew their names Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德). The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit. Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present. Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan
A 14-legged giant isopod is the highlight of a new dish at a ramen restaurant in Taipei and it has people lining up — both for pictures and for a bite from this bowl of noodles. Since “The Ramen Boy” launched the limited-edition noodle bowl on Monday last week, declaring in a social media post that it had “finally got this dream ingredient,” more than 100 people have joined a waiting list to dine at the restaurant. “It is so attractive because of its appearance — it looks very cute,” said the 37-year-old owner of the restaurant, who wanted to be