Taiwan News: MoFA Monitors China-Vatican Dialogue amid Fears of Diplomatic Fallout

Taiwan News: MoFA Monitors China-Vatican Dialogue amid Fears of Diplomatic Fallout
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that it closely monitoring a reported deal between China and the Vatican.

The statement comes amid reports the Vatican has made concessions to Beijing regarding the appointment of bishops in China, which would be a significant breakthrough between the two sides.

A Hong Kong-based newspaper reported last month that the deal is scheduled to be signed before October.

According to ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章), the Holy See has assured Taiwan that any agreement with Beijing will be based purely on religious affairs and will not affect bilateral ties.

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CNN is reporting that the Pentagon has rejected a request by the State Department to deploy Marines to Taiwan to guard the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) offices.

The news network is citing a defense official as saying military planners had expected a detachment of Marines to arrive in Taiwan next month prior to the request being rejected.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly denied the request last month.

A defense official told CNN the request was rejected due to "resource constraint issues" and "not to avoid irritating [Beijing]."

The official said the State Department also failed to give the Pentagon advance notice that the new compound would need a Marine Security Guard detachment, which contributed to the request's rejection.

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Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) is holding talks with visiting U.S. trade officials.

The U.S. delegation is being led by Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs Terrence McCartin.

According to Chen, the two sides will be discussing bilateral trade and economic issues as both sides seek to strengthen cooperation.

However, he said it remains unclear if the talks will touch on a request by Taiwan to be granted tariff exemption for imports of Taiwan steel and aluminum products to the U.S.

The AIT said the U.S. delegation also includes personnel from the State Departments of State and both commerce and agriculture departments.

AIT said: "They are here in Taipei for discussions on the full range of trade and investment issues of importance to both sides."

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A Japanese nationalist group has issued an apology after one of its members was seen kicking a statue of a comfort woman in Tainan.

The Truth of Comfort Women Movement said its member's actions "risked harming relations between Japan and Taiwan .. damaged the image of the Japanese people and violated international norms of good behavior."

And the group's chairman said he "sincerely apologizes to the Taiwanese people who felt offended."

The man seen kicking the statue last week was reportedly visiting Taiwan in order to deliver a letter of protest against the memorial, which is located opposite the Kuomintang's Tainan office.

The man had been insisting he had been stretching his legs. He has now reportedly resigned from his position within the Japanese nationalist group.

Read More: CARTOON: Stretching the Truth

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is thanking the European Parliament for passing a report that calls for an end to China's military provocation of Taiwan.

Writing on her Twitter account, Tsai said "we welcome the passage of the new EU-China relations report by Europarl and are grateful to the EU for shining light on such an important issue."

The Presidential Office said that as a member of the international democratic community, Taiwan will continue to contribute to the maintenance of regional security and stability.

The statements come after the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for European Union member states to urge Beijing to refrain from further military provocation towards Taiwan that could endanger peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The resolution also encourages a resumption of official dialogue between Beijing and Taipei and reiterates the EU's support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations.

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The Cabinet has approved an amendment to ban the import of fish products from far seas fishing fleets deemed to engage in destructive fishing practices.

The bill is an effort to have Taiwan removed from the European Union's "yellow card" watch list.

The EU placed Taiwan on the watch list in October of 2015 for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

EU officials have since visited Taiwan every six months to determine how those issues are being addressed.

Under the bill, individuals or companies caught importing fish products from fleets engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will face a fine of up to NT$2.5 million. (US$81,000)

That fine can be increased to NT$3.7 million for repeat violations within a one year period.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) said he hopes the bill will clear the legislative floor as soon as possible, and he has asked the Council of Agriculture to ensure the local fishing industry is aware of the new policy.

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The Cabinet has approved draft amendments to the Money Laundering Control Act and the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act.

The amended Money Laundering Control Act introduces new fines for financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses or professions that violate regulations.

And it requires them to implement internal control and audit policies to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The moves are part of government efforts to tighten supervision of financial institutions ahead of an evaluation by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering in November.

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The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Lu Chun-yi (呂軍億) against his prison sentence for attacking a military policeman outside the Presidential Office with a samurai sword.

The court says Lu is guilty of attempted murder and carrying a lethal weapon

The ruling upholds a previous High Court decision sentencing him to six years and eight months in prison.

The Supreme Court verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

Lu attacked a military policeman outside the Presidential Office with a sword he had stolen from the nearby Armed Forces Museum on Aug. 18 last year.

The guard suffered injuries to his neck and face while trying to stop Lu from entering the building.

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The government has said construction of an electricity grid in Haiti is expected to begin before the end of this year.

According to officials, the deal is now in the final stage and an on-site investigative team from Taiwan is making final checks.

The project will be the responsibility of Taiwan's Overseas Engineering and Construction Company and could take around two years to complete.

The company is helping Haiti build new or upgrade existing electrical substations, electricity distribution networks and transmission towers.

It is the first project launched with a diplomatic ally under the Official Development Assistance program, which is designed to help countries develop their infrastructure using Taiwanese contractors.

Read More: Taiwan Seeks to Pioneer ODA Financing Model with Haitian Power Grid Contract

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President Tsai is commending photographer Fu Yi-feng (傅譯鋒) for helping capture the beauty of Taiwan after sharing his picture of Pengjia Islet on her Facebook page.

Fu works at the the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

And his photograph was selected as one of the 75 finalists out of 1,000 entries for the World Meteorological Organization's 2019 calendar.

However, Fu withdrew his entry in protest after the United Nation's agency changed the origin of his Pengjia photo from Taiwan to "Taiwan, Province of China."

The CWB said the World Meteorological Organization has refused to revise its decision, despite the location name being "in line with United Nations' practice."

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Eight Taiwan universities have been listed in the 2019 Graduate Employability Rankings, with the National Taiwan University gaining the highest place at 81st.

The survey ranks 497 institutions around that world that were rated as best at producing employable graduates released by the British QS education network.

The National Yang-Ming University made the list for the first time this year, ranking between 301st and 500th, the same range as the National Central University and the National Qing Hua University.

The National Jiao Tong University rose to the 141st-150th range this year.

Three of the Taiwan schools maintained their standing from 2017, but the National Cheng Gong University and the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology both fell.

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The Central Weather Bureau said it won't be issuing a sea warning for Typhoon Mangkhut, after the storm veered further south than expected.

Mangkhut is currently located some 1,000-kilometers southeast of Oluanbi at the island's southern most tip and moving in a west-north-westerly direction at 21 kilometers an hour.

The storm is packing sustained wind speeds of 198 kilometers an hour, with gusts of up to 244 kilometers an hour.

The storm has widened and now has a radius of 300 kilometers.

Mangkhut is forecast to pass closest to Taiwan this evening and into tomorrow.

And the weather bureau says while it poses no direct threat to Taiwan, the storm's outer rim is still likely to bring heavy rain to mountainous areas in the east and south.

Mangkhut is forecast to make landfall on the northern tip of Luzon tomorrow.

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Read Next: OPINION: Taiwan Must Address Abuse, Illegal Fishing Aboard Its Vessels

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

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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