Taiwan News: Foreign Ministry Protests Airlines' Action, Govt Gives Defense Act Thanks

Taiwan News: Foreign Ministry Protests Airlines' Action, Govt Gives Defense Act Thanks
photo credit: REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/達志影像

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is protesting Beijing's pressuring of foreign airlines to refer to drop the designations that indicate Taiwan is independent of China – issuing a statement saying that "Taiwan exists in the international community and it won't disappear because of Beijing's bullying."

The statement comes after American, Delta and United airlines removed references to Taiwan as a separate country from their websites.

The foreign ministry said it strongly condemns China for its "rude and politically motivated intervention" in the operations of international companies and that "Taiwan's democracy is envied by China's citizens who are deprived of their political freedom."

According to the ministry, Taiwan will continue to urge other countries that share the same ideals to cooperate in preventing China from meddling in the sovereignty of independent foreign enterprises.

American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines are now referring only to TPE (Taoyuan International), without mentioning the country.

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The government has thanked the U.S .Congress for supporting Taiwan following finalization of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that includes provisions geared towards helping the island strengthen its defense capabilities.

The Presidential Office said it firmly appreciates the long-term support of the U.S. Congress for Taiwan in security issues and other aspects.

According to the office, Taiwan is one of the most important partners of the U.S. in the international community and good U.S.-Taiwan relations and permanent stability in East Asia are of critical significance to all parties concerned in the region.

A summary of the draft declares that "support for improving Taiwan's defense capabilities are included in the bill, including joint training, military sales and the use of security cooperation authorities."

The bill will not become law until it is passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then signed by the president.

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圖為2014年首度當選台中市市長的林佳龍|Photo Credit: 林佳龍
Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung is mulling a protest after his city lost the right to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games as a result of Chinese pressure.

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Wednesday that the city is looking into the feasibility of lodging a request with the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the East Asian Olympic Committee revoked its right to host the first East Asian Youth Games.

According to Lin, the city government is also trying to appeal the East Asian Olympic Commitee (EAOC)'s decision and a petition is expected to be submitted to the regional sports body later today.

Lin said Taichung has spent more than NT$670 million (US$22 million) on preparations for the games and the EAOC's executive board made regular inspections and provided support for the event.

However, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee said it has reviewed the EAOC charter and believes the Taichung City government will be unable to seek reimbursement for the millions it has spent on preparations.

Lawmakers from across party lines are urging the government to file a protest with the International Olympic Committee, asking for the East Asian Youth Games to go ahead in Taichung as planned.

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The Sports Administration said Taiwan will compete in next month's Asian Games normally and use the standard Olympic name of "Chinese Taipei."

The statement comes a day after the East Asian Olympic Committee revoked Taichung's right to host the first East Asian Youth Games due to a campaign to hold a referendum on Taiwan's participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as "Taiwan."

That ruling has led to concerns over whether the name change referendum will also affect Taiwan's right to participate in future Asian and Olympic games.

The 2018 Asian Games are scheduled to take place from Aug. 18 through Sept. 2 in Jakarta.

Taiwan has participated in international sporting events under the name "Chinese Taipei" since it signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee in 1981.

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Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine will arrive in Taiwan today for a week-long state visit, as the two countries seek to expand bilateral cooperation.

Heine will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and will witness the signing of a visa-free program and an agreement on marine patrol cooperation.

Heine and her delegation will visit the National Palace Museum, the Chimei Museum in Tainan and the Meinong Hakka Culture Museum in Kaohsiung.

And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says members of the Marshall Islands delegation will also hold talks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and the Council of Agriculture.

The Marshall Islands president last visited Taiwan in May 2016 for Tsai's inauguration.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has launched a crowdfunding site for his re-election campaign and his campaign team had set a target of raising NT$13.1-million during the initial phase.

However, that target was surpassed by 9 p.m. yesterday.

The website is called "Keep It Possible" and allows supporters to make donations of between NT$500 and NT$2,000.

According to Ko's re-election campaign team, 45 percent of the NT$13-million will go towards advertising, 24 percent will be used to produce merchandise and 21 percent of the funds will used for campaign events.

The remaining 10 percent will be used to set up campaign offices.

The mayor said most of the entire cost of of his re-election campaign will be covered through crowdfunding.

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Photo Credit: 柯文哲
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's campaign for re-election is up and running.

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Justice Minister Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said Wednesday that it remains undecided as to whether Taiwan will continue execute prisoners on death row, as no consensus on the issue has yet been reached.

Speaking to reporters, Tsai said despite the current lack of public consensus on the matter the government's goal to gradually abolish the death penalty remains unchanged, but there is currently no timeframe as to when that could happen.

According to Tsai, the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Prosecutors' Office are extremely careful with handing down death sentences and follow strict procedures when reviewing such cases.

Tsai declined to reveal his personal opinion on the death penalty, saying only that the issue of whether executions should be carried out must take into consideration the rule of law and public opinion.

As of June of this year, 43 criminals are serving their sentences on death row.

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Transport Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) said Wednesday he believes labor unions should give "reasonable advance notice" of any planned strike action, particularly in the airline sector.

Wu said he plans to discuss the proposal with Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) in the coming weeks.

The comments come as pilots for both China Airlines and EVA Airways are set to vote on whether to take strike action after they failed to reach an agreement on overtime and other issues with their respective airlines.

Wu said workers have a right to strike, but those in the public transportation sector should consider their social responsibility and national security, which should not be compromised in negotiations.

According to Wu, "reasonable advance notice" of at least 14 days of any strike by pilots would help minimize the impact on the public during the summer months allow airline management to make contingency plans.

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The head of the Global Migration Policy Association is urging the government to revise its immigration policy in order to address the issues of demographic and economic challenges.

According to Patrick Taran, while Taiwan is in need of workers, foreign workers continue to be constrained from coming here due to the island's immigration policy, which has created a market for human trafficking.

Speaking at an international workshop on human trafficking, Taran said trafficking exists because there is a demand for cheap and unprotected labor, while at the same time there is little or no labor protection or inspection and no effective immigration policies.

Taran said when circulation is freer, when employers' access to labor and job-seekers' access to work is unrestricted, while abuse of workers is controlled, these problems disappear.

The workshop was hosted by the National Immigration Agency.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: David Green