Taiwan News: Nauru Refugee Medical Treatments, Lee Teng-hui in Japan

Taiwan News: Nauru Refugee Medical Treatments, Lee Teng-hui in Japan
Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

Australia's de-facto embassy in Taiwan is thanking the government for providing quality medical care to more than 10 international refugees housed at an offshore immigration detention center on Nauru, the island nation in Micronesia, off the northeast coast of Australia.

The Australian Office Taipei said all the refugees agreed to be treated in Taiwan and to return to Nauru once they have been discharged from hospital and Taiwan has won global praise for its quality medical care.

However, some refugees claimed to lawyers in Australia that they had been unable to give informed consent to treatment due to language difficulties.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the medical care program has been running under a memorandum of understanding signed with Australia in September of last year. The deal is part of efforts on behalf of Australia's government to avoid asylum seekers held in detention camps on Nauru from applying for permission to enter Australia on medical grounds.

Under the agreement, the Taiwan Adventist Hospital began helping refugees and asylum seekers from Australia's immigration processing center on Nauru in January.

Australia is responsible for transportation and medical bills for the refugees.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwanese former President Lee Teng-hui attends an event to campaign for Taiwan to be recognized as a participant in the United Nations and World Health Organization, in Taipei, Taiwan on March 10.

Former President Lee Teng-hui said a free and democratic Taiwan is not China's enemy, and Beijing's worst enemy is the fact that it does not genuinely embrace either democracy or freedom.

Lee made the remarks at a dinner hosted by Taiwanese expatriates in Okinawa.

Speaking at the event, Lee said Taiwan will someday present itself on world stage with its own name despite China's becoming the "most destabilizing factor" in Asia. The former president went on to say that Taiwan is not afraid of China's use of verbal intimidation, military threats, economic coercion, social division as it seeks to annex Taiwan.

He was also keen to stress the importance of improving defense cooperation between Taiwan and Japan, and emphasized that Japan cannot rely on the United States to maintain its national security.

And Lee also criticized the Chinese government for running counter to the universal human values of democracy and freedom while at the same time projecting itself as a country of great power and prosperity.

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Former President Lee Teng-hui has unveiled a monument in Japan dedicated to Taiwanese soldiers drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

The monument, erected in Peace Memorial Park in the Mabuni Hill area of the city of Itoman in Okinawa, commemorates the Taiwanese killed the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Lee highlighted the inscription on the new memorial that reads, "A testimony to their country," in Chinese characters and said that 34 Taiwanese killed in the battle were probably involved in the transport of rice.

Lee was invited by Japan-Taiwan Peace Foundation to attend the unveiling ceremony, which was held one day after Okinawa Memorial Day, which is observed on June 23.

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Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis appears before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as US defense secretary., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 12, 2017.

The Ministry of National Defense is refusing to comment on reports the island's armed forces are slated to participate in a U.S. maritime exercise focusing on medical emergencies.

Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said "there is no comment or further explanation."

The non-committal comment follows reports that Navy and military medical personnel will be assigned to U.S. warships when the drill begins in the Solomon Islands in November, and comes amid a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to Beijing.

Mattis is expected to discuss China's militarization of the South China Sea, denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula, and U.S. exchanges and arms sales to Taiwan.

Reports also suggest that international medical and humanitarian assistance will become central to exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S. going forward.

Focus Taiwan quoted a research fellow at the National Policy Foundation as saying that Taiwan could increase its international and military presence by participating in international humanitarian aid drills and exchanges with other countries.

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The Council of Agriculture (CoA) will meet today to discuss the possibility of removing Formosan macaques from the list of protected species.

The possible move comes amid a surge in complaints from farmers, especially those in the south, about the macaques damaging crops.

Farmers have long relied on firecrackers, traps and even hiring guards to protect themselves from crop loss.

However, there have been calls in recent months for the Formosan macaque to be removed from the protected species list to allow farmers to shoot and kill the primates if they are damaging crops.

The government has also raised the possibility of neutering or relocating macaques to areas where they are unable to encroach on farmland.

Animal rights groups say local governments should issue regular reports regarding agricultural losses caused by macaques and the CoA should carry out a survey on macaque numbers before making any final decision.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Macaques rest in Taipei Zoo, June 30, 2006.

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The Ministry of the Interior says Vietnam remains the major source of foreign spouses in Taiwan, with over 3,000 Vietnamese becoming naturalized citizens last year.

According to the ministry, Vietnamese accounted for 72.8 percent of the total number of people in Taiwan who gained citizenship last year, with most of them being spouses of Taiwan nationals.

Figures show that of the 5,366 newly naturalized citizens last year, 3,907 were from Vietnam, 533 from Indonesia, 471 from the Philippines, 122 from Thailand, 56 from Malaysia, 40 from Myanmar, 12 from Cambodia, and six from Singapore.

The total number represented a 65 percent increase from 2016, but was a 59.4 percent decline from 2008.

Data shows that 91.7 percent of the people who gained Taiwan citizenship last year were women, 86.9 percent were spouses of Taiwan nationals, and 95.9 percent were from Southeast Asian countries.

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Editor: David Green