Taiwan’s president wants dialogue with China

Taipei, Oct. 26 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called on the Communist Party of China (CPC) Thursday to begin dialogue with her administration to bring an end to hostilities between the two sides and the fear of war.

In her first response to the just-concluded CPC’s 19th Party Congress that saw Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), also general secretary of the CPC, emerging as a formidable leader, Tsai said that China’s ruling party has entered into “a whole new era of ruling.”

Tsai said that when she was inaugurated May 20 last year, she urged the ruling parties on each side of the strait to begin dialogue. After the CPC’s party congress, she said that “now is the turning point” to change cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Tsai again urged the two sides of the strait to display the wisdom that has carried both sides over 30 years to work for a breakthrough in cross-strait relations and long-lasting benefits for the people on both sides.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)

US-China ties will not come at expense of Taiwan: ex-U.S. official

Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) The United States will not sacrifice Taiwan’s interests in exchange for improved ties with China, a visiting former senior U.S. official said Tuesday in Taipei.

Daniel Russel, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs made the comments amid the ongoing 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing and an upcoming first ever trip to China by U.S. President Donald Trump. The remarks were also directed at continued speculation that Beijing’s increased importance to U.S. foreign policy could pose a problem for Taipei.

Russel said that China has undergone major changes over the past five years under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, underscored by the country’s growing economic strength and more active role in regional and global affairs.

Against this backdrop it is not surprising that China has become more important to U.S. foreign policy, he added.

“But should that be a problem for Taiwan? The common interests, the shared values, the institutional linkages, and the strong people-to-people ties and all the things I just described are like anchors, bonds that help ensure that improvements in U.S-China relations will never come at Taiwan’s expense,” he stressed.

Although the occupants of the White House and the Presidential Office have changed in recent years, what has not changed is the deep-rooted friendship between American and Taiwanese people, he said.

“What has not changed is U.S. policy, which is based on the Taiwan Relations Act and the Three Joint Communiques. What has not changed is America’s enduring interest in the continued success, prosperity and self-determination of the people of Taiwan,” he added.

Having said that, Russel also reiterated that the U.S. will not serve as an intermediary between Beijing and Taipei.

“One of my predecessors, Ambassador Winston Lord once said, ‘Americans aren’t smart enough to mediate between Chinese.'”

“At the end of the day it falls to the people of Taiwan and to those on the mainland to muster patience, creativity, flexibility and effective communications necessary to manage relations and to resolve your differences,” he concluded.

Russel made the comments during a speech at National Chengchi University during his first-ever trip to Taiwan. He arrived on Sunday and is scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

During his stay, Russel will also visit government departments where he will learn about Taiwan’s political and economic development and government policies in the areas of diplomacy, national defense cross-strait relations, and exchange views on U.S-Taiwan links and future cooperation, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

A career senior diplomat, Russel served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from July 2013 to March 2017. Before that, he served at the White House as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs.

In April, he joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), a think tank that tackles major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific, where he serves as diplomat-in-residence and a senior fellow.

(By Joseph Yeh)

Lonely Planet names Kaohsiung 5th best city to visit in 2018

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan has been named as the fifth best city in the world to visit in 2018 by travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet.

Kaohsiung, a port city and the third most populous city in Taiwan after New Taipei and Taichung, was among Lonely Planet’s list of 10 top cities in the world that its experts recommend travelers visit in 2018.

The list was published Tuesday as part of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 package that also identified the world’s 10 top countries and 10 top regions to visit and 10 best travel values.

In the “Top Cities” list, Spain’s Seville was ranked at the top, followed by Detroit in the United States, Canberra in Australia, and Hamburg in Germany.

From sixth to 10th were Antwerp in Belgium, Matera in Italy, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Guanajuato in Mexico and Oslo in Norway.

“Kaohsiung is surging with possibilities: visit before the world gets wind of it,” Lonely Planet said in the description of the city accompanying the list that particularly highlighted the city’s transition from an industrial port to a cultural hub.

“Warehouses by the harbor are morphing into galleries and theaters. World-class architecture is sprouting along the shore, from a beautiful public library to a spectacular concert venue that, when ready, should be among the best in Asia,” Lonely Planet wrote.

“The cultural calendar is packed full of exciting new festivals, and young chefs are injecting fresh ideas into southern Taiwanese cooking,” it said.

Other Kaohsiung highlights mentioned were the “spectacular” cruise terminal and light-rail system that are taking shape, and a new 88-meter “Eye of the Mountain” skywalk in the Xiaogangshan Recreation Area, from which hikers can view the Taiwan Strait.

In a statement previewing the article, Lonely Planet writer Piera Chen, who prepared the section on Kaohsiung, described the city this way: “Wherever you go, whether by metro or the city’s burgeoning fleet of public bikes, Kaohsiung greets with a laid-back maritime charm.”

(By Christie Chen)

Taiwan urges new model for cross-strait ties

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should show wisdom, determination and patience to forge a new model for bilateral ties and lay a solid and long-lasting foundation for perpetual peace in the region, the Presidential Office urged Wednesday.

“We are keeping a close tap on the development in cross-strait relations and all situations in the region,” the Presidential Office said in a statement responding to remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier in the day.

Speaking at the opening of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi stressed Beijing’s intent to safeguard its “one China principle” and the “1992 consensus” in handling cross-Taiwan Strait ties.

He also said China will deal appropriately with changes in Taiwan’s situation and spare no effort to oppose Taiwan’s independence movement while maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Xi’s comments offered little that was new, and the Presidential Office’s response essentially echoed remarks made on previous occasions by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), including during her National Day address on Oct. 10.

In terms of cross-strait ties, the Presidential Office stressed that “we are fully committed to building peace in the region and across the strait.”

The government has done its best to stabilize two-way relations, “extending maximum goodwill to the other side hoping to mend hostilities and differences step by step,” it said, noting that “the international community should have seen efforts made by Taiwan in this regard.”

Maintaining cross-strait peace and stability and creating benefits for the people are common goals of the leaders on both sides, the Presidential Office reiterated.

It also repeated a previous Tsai pledge: “We will not revert to the old path of confrontation, and we will not bow to pressure.”

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the agency responsible for charting Taiwan’s policy toward China, said in a statement that the Chinese Communist Party’s advocacy of the “one China principle” and the “one country, two systems” formula will have trouble winning over the hearts of the Taiwanese people.

It called on Beijing to think of a new model in its dealings with Taiwan.

The MAC also expressed regret that Xi’s talk demonstrated Beijing’s longstanding stance of wanting to contain Taiwan, saying that long-term political disputes across the strait can be resolved, but man-made barriers and hostilities have led to confrontation and stalemate.

The MAC urged Beijing to engage in implementing policies conducive to “democracy, peace, fairness and justice,” and adopt new thinking to face a new relationship across the strait and become a genuine peacemaker and protector in the region.

(By C.H. Liao and Flor Wang)

President Tsai hoping to boost military ties with Taiwan’s allies

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a group of senior military and police officers from Latin America and the Caribbean on Thursday that Taiwan is looking forward to deepening military exchanges and cooperation with other countries, particularly its diplomatic allies.

In a rapidly changing world, no country can face multiple challenges alone and must seek cooperation with others, Tsai told the officers from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay — all Taiwan’s diplomatic allies — and Peru.

Under Taiwan’s military diplomacy policy, it is hoping to build military exchanges and cooperation with its allies through actions such as increased exchange visits by senior military personnel, military training and information sharing, she said.

Tsai said that since she took office in May 2016, exchange visits by high-ranking officials of Taiwan and its allies have become more frequent.

She also expressed gratitude to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies for their support of the country’s efforts to participate in international organizations and programs.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao)

Taiwan, U.S. sign MOU on defense affairs

Taiwan Defense Industry Association head Han Pi-hsiang (韓碧祥, front center) and U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers (韓儒伯, front second right)

Princeton, New Jersey, Oct. 18 (CNA) Taiwan Defense Industry Association head Han Pi-hsiang(韓碧祥)and U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers (韓儒伯)signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Tuesday to advance U.S. defense cooperation with Taiwan.

The signing of the MOU will not only boost collaboration on defense affairs between Taiwan and the U.S., but will also create an integrated platform for the association members to extend exchanges on defense issues with the U.S., said Han.

Under the MOU, which was signed a day after the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference that took place Oct. 15-17 in Princeton, New Jersey, the two sides will foster industrial cooperation, arrange mutual visits by specialists in various fields, and facilitate mutual understanding and learning, he added.

Hammond-Chambers for his part revealed that a conference will be held in Taipei next spring to increase business opportunities in the defense and security industries in both Taiwan and the U.S.

The annual conference, hosted by the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council since 2002, serves as a crucial platform for U.S. and Taiwan to discuss national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation.

(By Rita Cheng and Isabel Wang)

Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations (AFECA) Annual Conference and Activities Hosted in Kaohsiung for the First Time

The Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations (AFECA), one of the most important international exhibition organizations in Asia, hosted its 2017 Annual Conference and a series of events in Kaohsiung on September 5th. The Conference was attended by over 150 exhibitors from throughout Asia, including representatives from the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Philippines Department of Tourism, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

Walter Yeh, President and CEO of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), who also serves as Chairman for the AFECA and Taiwan Exhibition & Convention Association (TECA), has expressed special thanks to Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government, and TECA for their support and sponsorship in making the Conference possible.

On September 5th, a joint meeting was held by AFECA and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), a US-based key global association for exhibitions. Chairman Yeh from AFECA and 2018 Chairman-Elect Daniel McKinnon from IAEE served as Co-Chairs to lead the discussion about exhibition industry development trends in Asia and America. CEO Arun Madhok from Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre was also invited for a seminar to speak about his experience of managing a convention and exhibition center. Interactions and idea-exchanges from convention and exhibition industry participants were very warm.

This year, the AFECA Conference, Asian MICE Forum 2017 (AMF), and Joint-IAEE Conference were all hosted in Kaohsiung, where important figures from the convention and exhibition industry across the globe gathered, greatly enhancing Kaohsiung’s international reputation. On the following day, AFECA hosted the AFECA Asia MICE Youth Challenge and AFECA Awards, where winners were announced.

AFECA is the only international convention and exhibition association in Asia that is founded by Asians. It was established in Singapore in 2005, while the first annual convention was held in Singapore in 2006. The Association’s purpose is to promote the development of Asia’s exhibition and convention industry, and to facilitate and establish standard operational practices. In addition to Taiwan, members comprise 15 countries/regions including Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand. Globally, AFECA has already become a representative of the Asian convention industry.

Copyright © 2017 Ministry of Economic Affairs

Taiwan can resist Chinese invasion longer than 2 weeks: defense head

Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said Tuesday that Taiwan’s military is strong enough to resist a possible Chinese invasion for “more than two weeks” — longer than one of his predecessors, Lee Tien-yu (李天羽), had envisioned nearly a decade ago.

Feng made the remarks in answer to opposition Kuomintang lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), who asked him how long Taiwan’s armed forces would be able to resist a Chinese attack now, as Lee had once said the country could “hold on” for just two weeks in such a scenario. Lee was defense minister from May 2007 to February 2008.

“It’s been quite a long time since Lee was minister of national defense, and our military has become much stronger since then. We will be able to resist (such an attack) for longer than that,” Feng said.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and S.C. Chang)

President will not declare independence: premier

Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Tuesday that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will not declare Taiwan independence.

The statement was given by Lai in an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan.

The “Resolution on Taiwan’s Future,” approved by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) congress in 1999, made it clear that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, Lai stated.

At the end of Tuesday’s interpellation session, Lai agreed to sing the national anthem and carry the national flag on Double Ten Day this year. He also noted that he had overseen several Double Ten celebrations when he served as Tainan mayor from 2010 to 2017.

In the past, some DPP politicians have refrained from attending National Day ceremonies, singing the anthem and waving the national flag of the ROC, as such acts would be regarded as China-linked.

(By Chen Jun-hua and Isabel Wang)

Taiwan protests against Qatar Airways designation of Taiwanese staff

Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) The Taiwan government has lodged a protest with Qatar Airways over the airline’s designation of the nationality of flight attendants from Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

Chen Chun-shen (陳俊賢), chief of MOFA’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs, said the 100-plus Taiwanese flight attendants employed by the state-owned flag carrier have recently been designated as “Chinese (TWN)” on their work IDs.

The change was made in September, from “Taiwanese” to “Chinese (TWN),”obviously due to pressure from China, where Qatar Airways has seven destinations, Chen said in a regular press briefing.

MOFA has lodged a protest through viable channels, in view of the fact that Taiwan does not have a representative office in Qatar, and is awaiting a response from the airline, he said.

The Taiwan government, however, does not hold any business bargaining chips that can be used to negotiate with Qatar Airways because the airline does not serve any destinations in Taiwan, Chen said.

A similar situation had occurred in May with Emirates, in which the carrier ordered its Taiwanese cabin crew members to use Chinese lapel but revised the directive after Taiwan protested.

Emirates operates six routes in Taiwan.

(By Ku Chuan and Y.F. Low)