The legislature yesterday gave preliminary approval to an agreement signed by Taiwan and Vietnam on judicial assistance amid concerns over ambiguity that the Judicial Yuan and lawmakers across party lines feared may favor Vietnam.
Because of these concerns, lawmakers on the legislature’s Foreign and National Affairs Committee appended a resolution to the agreement that said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) should negotiate with Vietnam should problems occur when implementing the treaty.
The agreement was signed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vietnam and the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei on April 14 this year.
Wu Kuang-jau (吳光釗), a judge in the Civil Department of the Judicial Yuan, expressed disapproval of various items in the agreement, a rare move that saw government officials divided over a proposal referred by the executive branch to the legislature for deliberation.
Both Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers agreed with Wu’s concerns.
In accordance with the provisions of the agreement, Taiwan and Vietnam shall provide each other with legal assistance on civil matters in service of documents; investigation and taking of evidence; recognition and enforcement of judgments and decisions of the courts in civil matters and awards; and other matters stipulated by the agreement.
The civil matters referred to include civil, commercial, marital, family and labor matters.
MOFA Vice Minister David Lin (林永樂) said Taiwan and Vietnam needed the agreement because the number of lawsuits concerning civil matters has been on the rise in the past decade, in which 130,000 Vietnamese women married Taiwanese and a large number of Vietnamese workers came to the country. He added that there were more than 200,000 Vietnamese-Taiwanese.
“That there are about 420,000 Vietnamese in Taiwan necessitated the agreement,” Lin said.
Having failed to incorporate the Judicial Yuan’s suggestions into the agreement when it was negotiated with Vietnam, Wu told lawmakers that some vague articles in the agreement gave rise to the concern that Vietnam might refuse to recognize or enforce judgments and decisions handed down by Taiwanese courts.
“It is expected that many court rulings made by Taiwanese courts won’t be implemented in Vietnam as we have no understanding of the judicial system in Vietnam,” Wu said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said he doubted the agreement provided more protection for Vietnamese in Taiwan and added Taiwanese might have unequal access to justice through the judicial system in Vietnam.
He also questioned why the government signed an agreement on civil matters instead of one on criminal matters that could have included an extradition clause and a prisoner exchange clause — a far more urgent issue from the Taiwanese perspective, he said.
KMT Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) suggested appending the resolution and urged MOFA and the Ministry of Justice — the two agencies in charge of negotiating the agreement — to take the concerns raised by the Judicial Yuan seriously.
The agreement was the third such treaty Taiwan has signed with non-diplomatic allies, following the agreements on judicial assistance in criminal matters signed with the US in 2002 and on assistance in criminal and civil matters signed with China last year.
It took director Chong Keat Aun (張吉安) nearly a decade to complete Snow in Midsummer (五月雪), a deft chronicle of Malaysia’s May 13 incident told through one woman’s search for her brother and father. Although only his second feature, it led the field at yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards with nine nominations. Chong said it had been a struggle to get people to share their memories of the intercommunal violence following the 1969 national election, known among the country’s ethnic Chinese community as “513.” “My father, for example, would shut the conversation down if my mother or grandma even mentioned the topic,” Chong said
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted
A New Taipei City hotpot restaurant could be fined after a rat dropped from the ceiling and landed on a customer’s plate last week, the New Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday after conducting an inspection. A woman recently posted on the “I am a Banciao resident” (我是板橋人) social media group saying that she had been eating with a friend at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banciao District (板橋). “While still eating, a big rat suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing on a plate next to a hotpot,” she said. “Later on, a member of