Former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) minister Katharine Chang (張小月) yesterday took the helm of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), saying that she hopes to meet with the chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).
Chang, a senior diplomat who led the council since President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration in May 2016, was elected by the foundation’s board of directors and supervisors at a meeting yesterday afternoon, after being picked by the Tsai administration to succeed former SEF chairman Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂).
On Feb. 26, Chang was replaced at the council by National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of National Development professor Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
“Exchanges between both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be based on mutual respect, as well as the principle of seeking common ground, while reserving our differences,” Chang said when asked by the media whether she would inherit Tien’s unfulfilled goal of meeting ARATS Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) in Kinmen.
Such a meeting could be held anywhere, as long as it is conducted in a fair, equal and respectful manner, she said.
The last meeting between leaders of the two semi-official organizations was in November 2015 in Taipei between Chen Deming and then-SEF chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森).
Communications between the two agencies have been cut since Tsai took office due to her administration’s refusal to recognize Beijing’s “one China” principle.
There is more China could do than simply granting Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), the wife of imprisoned Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), a visit to her husband in prison, Chang said.
“How can a small nation like Taiwan tolerate people who have vastly different ideas, but a large country like China cannot stomach even one individual like Lee [Ming-che]?” Chang said, reiterating the government’s oft-stated hope that Lee Ming-che will be released as soon as possible.
Following a number of failed attempts to fly to China to visit her husband in Chishan Prison in Hunan Province, Lee Ching-yu on Monday received a one-off document allowing her to enter China.
Lee Ming-che was on Nov. 28 last year sentenced to five years in prison and deprived of his political rights for a further two years by a Chinese court on charges of subverting state power.
The ruling came eight months after he was detained by Chinese authorities.
Although Chang’s position descended from the head of the government’s primary cross-strait policymaking agency to the leader of a foundation charged with carrying out policies, she said that what matters is not the level of her post, but the opportunity to contribute to furthering cross-strait ties.
“Although my jobs are in different locations, the work is all the same,” she said.
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had
Taiwanese who have recently traveled to China for tourism, to visit friends or relatives or for business reasons have been interrogated, detained and faced other forms of unreasonable treatment from Chinese officials, a source said on Sunday. Among them was a Taiwanese who was detained for eight hours at an airport in China due to their research, which is related to religion, while others have had their travel documents for China canceled for a number of reasons, the source said. In July, China expanded the scope of its counterespionage law, and recently announced a draft amendment to the law on the protection