Taiwan News: Interpol, Vatican Reject Taiwan

Taiwan News: Interpol, Vatican Reject Taiwan
Credit: Reuters / TPG
What you need to know

Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is voicing its regret over Interpol's refusal to accept a request to allow Taiwan to attend its general assembly as an observer next month in Dubai.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said Thursday that his office has received a reply from Interpol's General Secretariat in which it refused to invite Taiwan to the event, citing a 1984 resolution recognizing China as the sole representative to Interpol.

According to Lee, the foreign office, has expressed its "strong dissatisfaction and regret" about that decision, saying the refusal runs counter to the group's stated goal of building a more secure world through global police cooperation.

Lee said the request to attend the event has the support of like-minded countries, including the U.S., and Interpol should seek to make practical arrangements for Taiwan to participate in its activities in order to help avoid loopholes in the global security network.

The government will reportedly continue to seek backing to attend next month's general assembly in the hope that Interpol's executive committee will at least discuss the request at a meeting slated to be held in before the assembly begins.

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The Vatican has said that Pope Francis has no plans to visit Taiwan.

The statement comes only days after Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) returned to Taiwan from a four-day visit to the Vatican and told reporters that the Pope responded "favorably" to an invitation to visit the island.

Chen had a brief meeting with Pope Francis before a canonization ceremony.

The statement by the Vatican came on the same day that South Korean officials said the pope had expressed a willingness to visit North Korea.

And the rejection is leading to renewed concerns the Vatican could be seeking to establish formal diplomatic ties with China.

Reports say while it is routine for world leaders to invite the pope to visit their respective countries when they meet him, it is rare for the Vatican to announce that such visit is not being planned.

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The Mainland Affairs Council has said it will not repatriate two Chinese nationals who have applied for political asylum here in Taiwan.

The two men applied for asylum on their arrival at Taoyuan International Airport in September during a transit stop en route to China from Thailand.

Immigration officers have since confirmed that 43-year-old Yan Kefen and 63-year-old Liu Xinglian both hold refugee certificates issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Officials said they allegedly suffered political persecution in China and expressed the hope of seeking political asylum in Taiwan.

Although they both carry valid Chinese passports, they are still being held in a restricted area at the airport because they lack travel documents allowing them to enter Taiwan.

Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said the government is looking into the possibility of transferring them to a third country.

Taiwan does not have a refugee law that would streamline the handling of similar cases in future.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Read More:OPINION: It's Time for Taiwan to Act on Refugee Protection

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Digital Minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳) has said the government needs to respond proactively in order to counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

According to Tang, democratic institutions are being undermined through disinformation and misinformation and more needs to be done to stem this trend.

Speaking at a workshop on media literacy in Taipei, Tang said the government is committed to adopting innovative ways to deal with misinformation campaigns and threats of disinformation without compromising freedom of information and speech.

According to Tang, if the government responds proactively to such situations, it will make it less likely that misinformation will to grow into disinformation and attempts to sow discord can be stopped.

Tang says the government is already working with independent fact-checking mechanisms both at home and abroad to handle reports of misinformation, while media literacy and fact-checking programs can make the public immune to future disinformation campaigns.

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The New Power Party (NPP) has published a list of candidates running in the Nov. 24 election who are, or have been involved in criminal cases.

According to the NPP, most of the candidates on their list are running for office in Pingtung County, where 18 of the would-be elected officials have been involved in criminal cases.

The list includes 17 such candidates in Kaohsiung, 14 in Taoyuan and 13 in new Taipei.

The candidates named in the list are facing or have faced a wide range of criminal charges including corruption, election fraud, drunk driving, influence peddling and extortion.

One candidate running in November's ballot has faced murder charges while another has been questioned in connection with attempted murder.

NPP Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said the government and the Central Election Commission need to disclose any information about candidates who have criminal records as well as those who have been involved in criminal cases.

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Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) has said Taiwan and Paraguay will sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation later this year.

The statement comes after Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) confirmed earlier this week that the two countries are pushing for a US$150-million investment proposal.

That deal was first announced by Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez during a state visit to Taiwan last week.

Speaking at a legislative hearing, Liu said the Paraguayan president wants to deepen cooperation with Taiwan in terms of investment, economic, trade and public infrastructure.

Liu also said the two sides will hopefully finalize and sign the deal by the end of this year.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (R) and Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez attend an anti-invasion drill, simulating the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Taoyuan, Oct. 9, 2018.

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A report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has said Beijing's increasing engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean is aimed at diplomatically isolating Taiwan.

The report by the commission, titled "China's Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean," describes how Beijing is stepping up efforts to strengthen diplomatic, political and security cooperation in the region.

It notes that in addition to securing its own economic interests, China's efforts in the region also include attempts to reduce the influence of the United States.

According to the report, Beijing is seeking to convince Taiwan's allies in the region to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei and officially endorse Beijing's "one China principle."

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Police in New Taipei have detained a fourth suspect as part of their investigation into the August murder of a Canadian national.

Authorities said the suspect is a 46-year-old American male. He is being questioned by prosecutors in connection with the murder and dismemberment of Ryan Ramgahan in the city's Yonghe District.

Police said the suspect taught English at the same cram school as Ewart Odane Bent, who has been detained since August in connection with the case.

Reports indicate police believe the suspect bought gasoline to help Bent and another suspect, Oren Shlomo Mayer, destroy evidence related to the murder.

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The government has said political activities could soon be banned from being held in national parks.

The announcement follows the publication of a photograph by a pro-unification local government election candidate waving the Chinese flag and singing China's national anthem while standing at the Peak of Jade Mountain.

Officials said activities promoting any political ideologies will likely now be banned in the parks in order to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for visitors.

And to ensure neutrality, national parks will not allow visitors with political affiliations to fly or hang political banners or signs.

The government said it is now working on a proposed amendment to the National Park Act that will ban such activities.

Mount_Yu_Shan_-_Taiwan
Credit: Wikipedia
Jade Mountain: Not a place for political protest.

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The Council of Agriculture says it plans to increase fines for people who illegally bring meat products into Taiwan from overseas, especially from China.

Officials said the maximum could be increased to NT$300,000 (US$9,675) from the current maximum fine of NT$18,000.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said the move is part of government efforts to prevent African swine fever entering Taiwan from China.

Chen said his office will present a draft amendment to laws to the Cabinet as soon as possible, in the hope that it will be approved by lawmakers within one to two months.

Figures show that 181 cases of meat smuggling from China were uncovered by customs officers between Sept. 1 and Oct. 14.

China reported an outbreak of African swine fever in August and since then the disease has spread to eight provinces.

Officials say the virus has the potential to decimate the local pig-farming industry if it spreads to Taiwan.

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The National Taiwan Normal University has been ranked 15th for the subject of education in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings table.

The ranking is an improvement of seven places from last year.

The result is the best in Taiwan and second highest in Asia, after the University of Hong Kong.

The ranking system uses 13 performance indicators in five areas, such as teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income to evaluate the schools.

And the National Taiwan Normal University's performance improved in all five areas this year.

The university's president says the school will continue to cultivate interdisciplinary leaders and hopes to serve as a role model for students and other universities.

Read Next: HONG KONG: Why China's Greater Bay Masterplan May Not Be So Great

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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