MAC warns against China’s residence permits for Taiwanese

Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Wednesday accused Beijing of trying to weaken Taiwan’s state sovereignty by issuing new residence permits for Taiwanese living, working and studying in China.

In a statement, the MAC said the initiative is aimed at undermining Taiwan’s state sovereignty and altering cross-strait relations, and it urged Taiwanese who have applied for the cards not to enable Chinese authorities in their united-front tactics against Taiwan.

The council also warned Taiwanese of other downsides to China’s new residence permits, such as increased taxes and social insurance and compromised privacy protection.

The MAC issued the statement in response to remarks earlier in the day by An Fengshan (安峰山), spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, who said that more than 22,000 Taiwanese had applied for the Chinese residency permits since it was launched on Sept. 1.

The MAC, however, disputed the figure, saying it has been collecting relevant information via different channels, which will serve as reference for drafting future policies.

The new residence permits for Taiwanese are different from China’s resident identity cards, according to An.

He said the permits will serve as “identity cards” to allow greater convenience for Taiwanese living, working and studying in China and are not linked to any political agenda.

(By Miao Zong-han and Romulo Huang)

U.S. congressman urges full implementation of Taiwan Travel Act

Washington, Sept. 14 (CNA) U.S. Republican Representative Chris Smith on Friday urged his country’s executive branch to fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act to bring about an increase in exchanges of high-level officials from Taiwan and the United States.

In a letter to U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, Smith said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)’s recent visit to the U.S. showed the positive development of bilateral ties between Washington and Taipei.

“Building on this, I urge you to fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act to allow regular and high-level exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials,” Smith said to Pompeo in the letter.

Tsai made stopovers in two American cities, one in Los Angeles and the other in Houston, during her visits to Paraguay and Belize, two of Taiwan’s 17 diplomatic allies, in August.

Tsai’s U.S. stopovers were closely watched as they were the first since U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act into law in March.

The Taiwan Travel Act encourages high-level U.S. officials to visit Taiwan and vice versa. It could lead to a change in previous U.S. practice that restricted bilateral visits by Cabinet-level ministers but allowed Taiwanese presidents to transit through U.S. cities en route to other countries.

During Tsai’s recent transits in the U.S., she made a public address while visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in southern California, her first public address in the U.S. since she took office as president.

Taiwan-based reporters traveling with the president were allowed to file stories at the scene, which was also a first.

Previously, only U.S.-based Taiwanese reporters could report on the president’s activities during a stopover, while those traveling with the president could only file their stories after leaving U.S. soil.

In addition to calling for the full implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act, Smith also urged the U.S. administration to “work diligently to ensure Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations and other international organizations.”

Smith said China has stepped up measures to diplomatically isolate Taiwan and intensify threats against the island, which has altered the status quo in the Indo-Pacific region.

“China has launched a multi-domain campaign against Taiwan that includes many aggressive and provocative actions, such as the dispatching of warships, bombers, and fighter jets, to encircle the island, as well as conducting live-fire military exercises near Taiwan’s waters,” Smith said.

“Furthermore, in the diplomatic space, China has worked assiduously to cut off Taiwan’s diplomatic partners and block Taiwan from participating in international organizations,” Smith added.

“China’s provocations are brazen and the U.S. must publicly protest China’s continued alteration of the status quo in the South China Sea and its multi-pronged effort to threaten and isolate Taiwan,” the congressman said.

Smith also urged the U.S. State Department to reaffirm the U.S.’s unwavering commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances since they form the foundation of U.S. relations with Taiwan.

“I applaud the administration’s commitment to building a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Supporting Taiwan is crucial in realizing this goal,” he said.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang)

Foreign Ministry thanks EP for supporting Taiwan

On September 12, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) thanked the European Parliament (EP) for approving the EU-China relations report voicing strong support for Taiwan.

The EU-China relations report urged an end to Beijing’s military intimidation and expressed support for Taiwan’s international participation.

Adopted during a plenary session the same day, the report reaffirms the EP’s backing for Taiwan’s meaningful engagement in international bodies including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization. It also reiterates support for a Taiwan-EU bilateral investment agreement.

Pointing out the contrasting political developments in Taiwan and China, with a multiparty democracy on one side of the strait and an increasingly authoritarian regime on the other, the report also calls on the EU and its member states to do their upmost in urging Beijing to refrain from further military provocation toward Taiwan and endangering regional peace and stability.

The EP also voiced concern over China’s unilateral decision to start using new flight routes in the Taiwan Strait. All cross-strait disputes should be settled by peaceful means on the basis of international law, the report stated, adding that it encourages the resumption of official dialogue between Taipei and Beijing.

As a responsible member of the global community, Taiwan will continue to uphold regional security and stability, and fulfill its international responsibilities through close cooperation with like-minded countries, the Office of the President said in a statement released on September 13.

Possible worst-case scenario assessed: Presidential Office

Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) As Taiwan still needs to overcome the bad feelings caused by El Salvador’s switch of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) admitted Friday that the government must assess the worst-case scenario if Taiwan is left with no diplomatic allies.

“I believe that the government should have studied all possible scenarios in this regard, including a case in which Taiwan has no more diplomatic parters,” Huang said in a radio interview.

On Tuesday, El Salvador broke off its 85-year diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan), dealing a fresh blow to Taiwan, which is now formally recognized by only 17 nations.

The diplomatic setback came shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) returned to Taiwan from a nine-day visit to Paraguay and Belize.

It was the third country to cut ties with Taiwan this year, following the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso, amid Beijing’s money offensive to lure away Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.

Asked whether Tsai feels regret about making the visit, Huang replied “of course not,” given that it helped Taiwan get greater exposure to the international community.

“No matter what the situation, Taiwan must reach out,” he stressed.

Turning to attacks on Tsai from Chinese netizens due to her visit to an outlet of the Taiwan-based 85˚C cafe chain in Los Angeles during a stopover en route to Paraguay, he described the president as a highly composed person and that he did not see her affected by the matter.

Huang ruled out the possibility of the government considering acceptance of the “1992 consensus,” which Beijing claims serves as the political foundation for cross-Taiwan Strait interaction, despite unabated saber-rattling from China since Tsai of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power.

“I do believe that President Tsai will be able to hold on,” he said.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Flor Wang)

China never renounced use of force against Taiwan: MAC

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) China has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan, which is a “fact” rather than an “assumption,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Saturday.

Beijing never stopped its deployment of missiles targeting Taiwan, and continues to increase the frequency of military exercises near the Taiwan Strait, actions that have escalated regional tensions and caused anxiety in the international community, MAC said.

It is also a fact, not an assumption, that China has never given up the option of using force against Taiwan, MAC said, in the wake of Beijing’s denial Friday that it was probably preparing for an offensive against the United States and U.S. allies.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Qian (吳謙) on Friday rejected a U.S. military report that said Beijing was “likely training for strikes” against the United States and its allies.

In the wake of that statement, MAC said Taiwan has the ability to defend itself and will not give way to coercion or intimidation.

The Taiwan government will continue to seek cooperation with countries such as the U.S. to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the rest of the region, MAC said.

Beijing should not underestimate Taiwan’s will and determination to safeguard its democracy and sovereignty, MAC said, adding that Taiwan will never succumb to China’s suppression.

It also called on China to respect the will of the 23 million people of Taiwan, their choice of freedom, and way of life.

(By Lin Ke-lun and Ko Lin)

Taiwan denounces China for taking its allies, brutish suppression

Taipei, Aug. 21 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council lodged a strong protest Tuesday over China, which it denounced for constantly brutally wresting allies away from the Republic of China (Taiwan) in an attempt to press Taiwan into submitting to its political stance.

The protest was made following Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu’s (吳釗燮) announcement earlier in the day that Taiwan is cutting diplomatic relations with El Salvador after the Central American nation asked Taiwan for an “astronomical sum” of financial assistance for a port development project.

In a statement, the top agency in charge of China policy criticized Beijing for continuously ignoring Taipei’s goodwill requests for dialogue on peace in Taiwan Strait.

China’s repeated suppression of Taiwan, which the agency described as “the source of unrest maliciously damaging the peace and stability in the strait and the region,” harms the Taiwanese people’s feelings, rights and interests.

This brutish suppression will only serve to make Taiwanese people hold together more firmly, the agency said.

It reiterated the government’s determination to defend the country’s national sovereignty and dignity, as well as the people’s rights and welfare, saying that the government will maintain its existing policy.

“Taiwan has stern faith in self-defense and a democratic system against communist China’s brutish practices,” the agency said.

Meanwhile, ruling and opposition lawmakers all contended that China’s luring away of Taiwan’s allies does not help the development of cross-strait relations.

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said Taiwan’s foreign policy leaves the country no room to satisfy El Salvador with its unreasonable request.

“In order to stifle Taiwan’s diplomatic progress in the United States, China is willing to satisfy El Salvador’s needs. The Chinese taxpayers should think about whether their money has been spent correctly,” Wang said.

Opposition Kuomintang spokesman Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) urged China to respect the fact that the ROC exists and to refrain from squeezing Taiwan’s international space.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) suggested that Beijing should not let nationalism expand excessively. “It should be wiser in handling cross-strait affairs,” said the popular political independent, who is seeking his second term in year-end elections.

On the other hand, he suggested, Taiwan should be able to stand on its own in the international community. “Taiwan should not put its future into the hands of the goodwill of other (countries),” the outspoken mayor said.

El Salvador is the fifth diplomatic ally to switch its loyalty from Taiwan to China since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning DPP took office in May 2016, often because of promises of huge financial assistance packages or loans from Beijing.

The latest cut in ties reduces the number of countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan to as few as 17.

(By Chai Sze-chia, Fang Cheng-chung, Lee Shu-hua, Liang Pei-chi
and Elizabeth Hsu)

German youth forced to leave China considers studying in Taiwan

Image taken from Pixabay

Berlin, Aug. 13 (CNA) A German student whose paper on human rights lawyers in China got him into trouble with the Chinese authorities told German newspaper Die Welt he does not regret what he did and would consider becoming an exchange student in Taiwan.

David Missal, 24, a journalism student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was forced to leave China by Aug. 12 after his student visa was revoked apparently because of a paper he wrote on human rights lawyers in China.

As to why his master’s program report ran afoul of the Chinese authorities, Missal said he also shot a nine-minute documentary on dissident Qin Yongmin (秦永敏) who is in jail in Wuhan, central China.

Missal said he visited Qin with Lin Qilei (藺其磊), a human rights lawyer he got to know through Li Wenzu (李文足), wife of lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全幛) who is also currently being detained.

Because his paper focused on the plight of lawyers in China, Missal said he had touched on a “taboo” topic — which he said is why his student visa was revoked. He was originally set to stay in Beijing for at least one more year.

He told Die Welt on Aug. 12, before heading back to Germany, that as a journalism student, it is his duty to try to “cross boundaries.” “I do not regret what I did,” he added.

Missal did say he felt sorry he may no longer be allowed to visit China, where he got to know a lot of brave people like the lawyers he met.

Following a German tradition of being a volunteer while at high school, Missal stayed in Nanjing for a year teaching German, an experience that inspired him to learn Chinese.

He now plans to finish his master’s program at Germany’s Freie Universitaet Berlin, while also considering becoming an exchange student in Taiwan.

(By Lin Yu-li and S.C. Chang)