Taiwan News: MoFA Calls on Allies for UN Support, Monitors Vatican Ties

Taiwan News: MoFA Calls on Allies for UN Support, Monitors Vatican Ties
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has asked Taiwan's diplomatic allies to speak up for the island at this year's United Nations General Assembly, saying it hopes they will call attention to the government's desire to participate in UN-related events and international organizations.

According to MoFA, it has also requested the allies' permanent representatives to the UN write a joint letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, urging him to resolve the issue of Taiwan's exclusion from the global body.

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons
UN headquarters in New York.

The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened in New York Tuesday. The annual general debate is scheduled for September 25 through October 1.

The UN General Assembly has said the theme of this year's general debate will be "Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies."

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Reporters Without Borders is calling on the United Nations to allow Taiwanese journalists to cover the General Assembly in New York.

A RSF press release says the UN has been "under pressure from China to reject requests for press accreditation from Taiwanese nationals on the pretext that their passports are not recognized."

The statement goes on to say that "accrediting Taiwanese journalists is not a political move and it avoids unacceptable discrimination that contradicts all fundamental rights to free information stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

The RSF's secretary-general also urged the UN "to accredit all journalists of good faith, regardless of their nationality or the place of origin of their media."

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is calling for support from the international community and urging European countries to team up with Taiwan in its pursuit of democracy and freedom amid growing pressure from China.

Speaking during a meeting with a visiting delegation from the European Parliament at the Presidential Office, Tsai said China is unilaterally altering the status quo and undermining cross-Taiwan Strait relations, adding that these efforts only deepen Taiwan's resilience and determination to defend its interests and democratic values.

She also thanked the European parliamentary group for its long-term support of Taiwan, saying the government was especially grateful for passage of a report last week that called for an end to China's military provocation of Taiwan.

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Taiwan's Ambassador to the Holy See, Matthew Lee (李世明), said a likely agreement between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of bishops will not cover political or diplomatic issues, but instead is aimed more at dealing with Catholic religious affairs in China.

Lee said he will continue his efforts to solidify diplomatic ties with the Vatican and he has been told by high ranking officials that the deal "carries no political or diplomatic connotations."

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
The Vatican Nunciature, or embassy, in Taipei, Taiwan.

The statement came amid speculation a deal between China and the Vatican on how to appoint bishops in China could be signed by next month, amid speculation that it could result in the Holy See severing official ties with Taiwan.

Lee said he believes the Vatican wants to sign the agreement to give the Chinese people a chance to lead a normal life of faith, ease the oppression of Chinese Catholics, and help promote religious freedom throughout China.

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The German Institute in Taipei is calling on a hair salon in Hsinchu to immediately remove a sign that resembles a Nazi-era swastika.

The de facto German embassy says the use of Nazi symbols for commercial purposes is a despicable act and an offense against the victims of the Holocaust.

The statement comes after photos of the hair salon went viral. The salon is named Berlin and is using the swastika sign outside the store.

The owner of the salon is being quoted as saying the sign was not based on a Nazi symbol, but represents four razors and the salon is not Nazi themed.

The images of the sign have been removed from the salon's Facebook page following complaints. However, the owner says he currently doesn't have enough money to remove the actual signs on the front of the business.

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A Israeli-American suspected of murdering and dismembering a Canadian national in New Taipei is denying any knowledge of the killing.

Oren Shlomo Mayer was repatriated from the Philippines to Taiwan on Monday and has now been questioned by Criminal Investigation Bureau. Reports say he has admitted to meeting with Ryan Ramgahan prior to his death, but maintains he was unaware of what happened after that.

Police believe Mayer and American national Ewart Odane Bent killed Ramgahan and dismembered his body, which was found under the Zhongzheng Bridge in the Yonghe District August 22.

Mayer fled Taiwan after the murder, and was arrested in an apartment east of Manila by Philippine police on September 5. Bent was arrested by police in Taipei on August 25.

The case has now been turned over to New Taipei District Prosecutors Office for further investigation.

Read More: Rights Groups Urge Taiwan to Suspend Deadly Philippines Drug Deportations

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The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said state-run CPC Corp. (台灣中油) is responsible for an oil leak at a gas station on Green Island that polluted nearby groundwater supplies.

The company faces of a fine of up to NT$500,000 (US$16,237) for violating the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act.

The gas station itself has been identified as a pollution control site and CPC now has six months to file a report on how it plans to fix the problem and prevent similar leaks elsewhere.

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Credit: Flickr / CC 2.0
CPC faces a fine of NT$500,000 for a gas leak on Taiwan's Green Island.

CPC admitted this past weekend that the gas station notified the company in August that some 3,700 liters of gasoline had leaked into the surrounding area. However, that admission came one month after the actual incident occurred.

The Taitung Environmental Protection Bureau has already fined CPC NT$15,000 (US$487) for failing to report the leak as soon as it happened.

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The Taiwan Water Corporation has cut off water supplies to 590,000 households across 14 districts in Kaohsiung for 32 hours. The corporation says 330,000 households will have no water, while the other 260,000 households will see lower than normal water pressure over the 32 hour period.

Residents of the affected areas saw their water supplies cut off at midnight and the water corporation says they will resume at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

The water is being turned off to allow the corporation to carryout construction work aimed at improving wastewater treatment in the city.

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Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) has been honored at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress for his contributions to smart transportation development.

Wang received the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement award at the meeting in Copenhagen for his efforts to promote smart transportation in Taiwan over the past 20 years.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Wang said Taiwan's efforts to promote smart transportation systems are now increasingly attracting the attention of the global community.

Prior to his current post, Wang headed the Kaohsiung Transport Bureau, the iPASS Corporation, and the Intelligent Transportation Society of Taiwan.

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Microsoft will be joining innovation efforts for the Linkou Startup Terrace in a bid to help young people strengthen their abilities in new tech development.

Microsoft Taiwan General Manager Ken Sun (孫基康) said the decision to join the program is aimed at using the company's resources in cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence and big data to provide assistance to Taiwanese start-ups.

The Linkou Startup Terrace was launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Microsoft has been busy investing in Taiwan in recent years. The company set up the Microsoft Internet of Things Innovation Center in 2016 to help local manufactures upgrade their technology as a way to boost the sector's competitive edge. In January of this year, Microsoft set up an artificial intelligence R&D Center, which the government says will serve as an additional resource to transform the local industrial sector.

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The Netherlands Trade and Investment Office has unveiled its pavilion for November's Taichung World Flora Expo.

The circular building has been designed to showcase the circular economy for which the Dutch government is a major advocate.

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Credit: Ice Spring
Read More: 5 Highlights from Mapping Taiwan's Circular Economy Projects

The Dutch Representative to Taiwan, Guy Wittich, said the building highlights the need to achieve environmental sustainability by minimizing the negative impact of economic activity on the environment through the use of recycled materials and smart design. According to Wittich, it hopes the building will attract the attention of both the general public and potential partners, including architects, manufacturers and constructors.

The pavilion features environmentally-friendly designs, including energy-conserving pneumatic vacuum elevators and bolting steel structures that require no welding.

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The 14th World Congress of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World will officially open next Thursday on Penghu.

According to County Magistrate Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復), some 250 representatives of 50 cities from 23 countries will participate in the meeting.

Chen says the theme of this year's meeting is "In Love with the Ocean: Ecological and Tourism Sustainability, Ocean Economy, Cooperation and Co-creation." It will feature a series of academic forums, expositions, and cultural and sports events that run through November 4. The county magistrate says the activities are expected to attract some 60,000 domestic and foreign visitors.

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The Central Weather Bureau says residents of northern Taiwan are unlikely to be able to see the moon during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday this weekend due to cloudy skies.

The weather bureau says a frontal system and stronger northeasterly winds will begin to affect Taiwan from Saturday and cloudy skies and showers can be expected across much of the north.

Temperature are also likely to drop to around 30 degrees. However, residents of the center and south are expected to be able to see the moon during the holiday weekend, as clear skies are forecast there.

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Read Next: INFOGRAPHIC: How Taiwan's Presidents Speak About Taiwan and China

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

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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