A senior South Korean diplomat was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei in protest of Seoul’s last-minute cancelation of a virtual speech that Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) was to make last week.
On Monday, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director-General Chang Chun-yu (張均宇) summoned Hong Soon-chang, deputy representative and acting chief of the Korean Mission in Taipei, to lodge an official protest on behalf of the government, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.
The mission represents South Korean interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
As Taiwan’s digital minister, Tang was in September invited to speak virtually to the Global Policy Conference on the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Seoul on Thursday, Ou said.
Tang was one of four speakers to speak at an afternoon session on “Social Innovation” during the one-day event, which had in-person and virtual participants.
Tang’s address, titled “Taiwan’s Digital Social Innovation,” focused on how technology can be used to deal with the climate crisis and infectious diseases, Ou said.
However, just a few hours before the event, the organizers informed Tang that her address had been canceled, Ou said.
The organizers said the decision was made after taking into consideration “various aspects of cross-strait issues,” possibly referring to pressure from Beijing over Tang’s invitation, Ou said, citing an e-mail sent to Tang’s office.
The last-minute cancelation was “rude and inappropriate,” Ou said, which was why the ministry summoned Hong.
At the meeting, Hong promised to relay Taiwan’s grievance to his government, Ou added.
Envoy to South Korea Tang Diann-wen (唐殿文) lodged the same protest with the South Korean government in Seoul.
Taiwan, as a sovereign state, can have exchanges with international partners and would do so to enhance its cooperation with other democratic countries, Ou said.
The South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which hosted the conference, says on its Web site that it was set up in 2017 by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
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