Top posts at Taiwan’s HK office empty as ties get worse: sources

Then head of the MAC Lai Shin-yuan at the opening ceremony of Taiwan’s renamed office in Hong Kong in 2011. CNA file photo

Hong Kong, July 17 (CNA) The acting director-general of Taiwan’s representative office in Hong Kong has left the Chinese special administration region after its government refused to extend his work visa.

Kao Ming-tsun (高銘村) reportedly left Hong Kong on Thursday after he refused to sign an endorsement of Beijing’s “one China” principle and was denied an extension of his work visa, according to media reports from Taiwan.

A day before Kao’s departure, division chiefs at the office in charge of consular affairs and general administration, respectively, left the former British colony to return to Taiwan after their work visas expired, according to sources familiar with the matter.

It is not known if the departures of Chou Chia-jui (周家瑞) (consular services) and Lee Chin-mei (李晉梅) (general administration) also resulted from their inability to get their work visas extended.

With the departures, of the five divisions at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, four of them, responsible for consular, press and cultural, and liaison services and general administration, were without division chiefs.

That has left Ni Bo-chia (倪伯嘉), head of the office’s economic division, as the highest ranking official at the office.

Despite the exodus, consular and visa services at the office have remained normal, according to unidentified sources.

This further breakdown in ties comes just weeks after China imposed a National Security Law on Hong Kong that was condemned by Taiwan and that many fear will erode the freedom and rule of law that have long existed in Hong Kong.

Relations between Taiwan and China were already at loggerheads, having been that way since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Tsai’s government has rejected any suggestion that Taiwan is a part of China, including the “one China principle,” leading Beijing to cut off dialogue and cease formal interaction with Taiwan.

Consequently, the Taiwan office in Hong Kong has been without a director-general since July 2018 because the Hong Kong government was reluctant to grant a work visa to Taipei’s appointee for the post.

The appointee of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture (MOC) to take over its office in Hong Kong has faced the same roadblock since December 2018.

The Taiwan office in Hong Kong is under the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s top China policy coordinator, and the MOC’s representative to Hong Kong doubles as head of the division of cultural affairs at the office.

As a result, the cultural affairs division has been without a leader since late 2018.

The MAC has yet to comment on the recent personnel moves.

When Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was asked about why Kao left, he said it was because Taiwan is a sovereign independent country.

“We will firmly defend our sovereignty,” he said, without confirming if Kao has left Hong Kong because of Beijing’s rejection of his request to extend his work visa.

(By Stanley Cheung and Elizabeth Hsu)

Taiwan ranked as second safest country in the world

Taipei (CNA) Taiwan is the second safest country in the world, after Qatar, according to visitors to an online database, who voted on 133 countries/territories globally.

In the Crime Index by Country 2020 Mid-Year survey, Taiwan scored 84.74 out of 100 for safety, the online database Numbeo showed.

That score put Taiwan in second place among 133 countries and territories worldwide, followed by the United Arab Emirates (84.55) and Georgia (79.50).

The top ranked country was Qatar, with a safety score of 88.10, according to Numbeo, which said the results were based on surveys of visitors to its website who were asked to rate the safety and overall level of crime in the 133 countries/territories listed.

Photo: Office of the President of Taiwan, via Flickr.

The crime levels in each country were scored by means of a straightforward subtraction of the safety score from the total 100 points.

Under that system, Taiwan’s crime level score was 15.26, according to Numbeo, which rates the crime levels as very low if the scores are below 20 in the index, low if the score is 20-40, moderate 40-60, high 60-80, and very high over 80.

The three countries with highest crime scores in the survey were Venezuela (84.36), Papua New Guinea (80.04) and South Africa (77.29).

In the biannual online survey, Qatar and Taiwan also ranked first and second, respectively, for safety in the first one this year.

(By Joseph Yeh)



The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign and independent nation

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen / CNA file photo
  • The international community widely recognizes the democratic achievements symbolized by the recent elections in Taiwan;
  • China unilaterally undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the wider region;
  • The vast majority of the Taiwanese people reject the “one country, two systems” formula;
  • China has no right to interfere or make reckless comments when other countries simply exercise their sovereignty;
  • The “one China principle” is not a widely held consensus in the international community;
  • Taiwan calls for positive interactions across the Taiwan Strait;
  • Taiwan looks forward to continuing cooperation and exchanges with all nations.

After her election victory on 11th January, President Tsai Ing-wen said in an interview with the BBC: “We are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China (Taiwan).” She also said China needs to show Taiwan respect.

However, the permanent mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN called upon the UN member states on 15th January that the so-called “One-China principle” must be observed and that any official intervention or engagement with Taiwan or its offices is against such a principle and should be avoided.
Such baseless claims expressed by the PRC are against the facts and absolutely unacceptable. That is why, following the elections and its results, more than 80 nations and international organizations conveyed congratulatory messages to Taiwan.

1. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not a province of China. In fact, it has never been ruled by the People’s Republic of China. These are undisputable facts. China must squarely face this reality and respect Taiwan.

2. The international community widely recognizes the democratic achievements symbolized by the recent elections in Taiwan.
Following Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections on January 11, 2020, prominent political figures and individuals friendly to Taiwan from more than 80 nations and international organizations—including Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies and countries such as the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany—conveyed congratulatory messages to Taiwan via letters, telegrams, and social media posts. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement to congratulate Taiwan on the outcome of the elections. He stated that Taiwan had once again demonstrated the strength of its robust democratic system and emphasized that Taiwan is a model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world.

3. China unilaterally undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the wider region.
Over the past three-plus years, Taiwan has made every effort to maintain the cross-strait status quo on the premise of safeguarding national sovereignty. Taiwan has not taken provocative or impulsive actions. In
contrast, China has resorted to all manner of tactics to suppress Taiwan’s international participation, and intensified its rhetorical assaults against and military intimidation of Taiwan. It has also conducted disinformation campaigns in an attempt to interfere with Taiwan’s elections. China’s actions are neither beneficial to the positive development of cross-strait relations nor in the interests of other countries in the Indo-Pacific.

4. The vast majority of the Taiwanese people reject the “one country, two systems” formula.
According to public opinion polls in Taiwan, nearly 90 percent of people in Taiwan reject the “one country, two systems” formula. China must carefully consider the aspirations and strong message expressed by the Taiwanese people in the recently held general elections.

5. China has no right to interfere or make reckless comments when other countries simply exercise their sovereignty.
When other countries officially extend congratulations to the winners of Taiwan’s elections, invite Taiwanese officials to visit, assign representatives to attend the presidential inauguration in Taiwan, or sign any bilateral agreement with Taiwan, they are simply exercising their independence and sovereignty. China has no right to interfere or make reckless comments about the actions of these countries.

6. The “one China principle” is absolutely not a widely held consensus in the international community.
Many countries have their own “one China policy,” which may differ in meaning from the “one China principle” propagated by China. In fact, a great number of countries, in their respective communiqués establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC or other documents, do not mention or recognize the “one China principle.”

7. Taiwan calls for positive interactions across the Taiwan Strait.
Peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue are the keys to positive interactions and long-term stable development across the Taiwan Strait, and offer the only way forward to bringing people across the strait closer together and ensuring reciprocity and mutual benefit. It is hoped that Beijing will not undermine the positive development of cross-strait relations. The two sides should jointly endeavor to improve ties.

8. Taiwan looks forward to continuing cooperation and exchanges with all nations.
On the basis of the existing solid foundation, Taiwan looks forward to continuing to deepen friendship and cooperation with all countries and international organizations and make concrete contributions to the international community.


Tsai Ing-wen reelected as Taiwan’s President: a big victory for democracy

Taipei, Jan. 11 Taiwan’s incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen was elected to a second four-year term Saturday, winning by a wide margin over her main competitor, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

The 63-year-old former trade negotiator of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won more than 8 million votes, the highest number gained by a candidate since Taiwan’s first presidential election in 1996.

Tsai’s reelection shows the support of the population who believe and fight for a free and democratic Taiwan not sumise to the dictatorial regime of Peking. However, this does not mean 100% adherence to the national policy of President Tsai since the KMT wins seats in the legislative elections. In all cases the DPP retains its absolute majority in the Taiwanese Parliament.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election and lauded her for seeking stability with China “in the face of unrelenting pressure.”
In a statement that could anger Beijing, which views Taiwan as part of China, Pompeo said Taiwan’s democratic system, free market economy and civil society, made it “a model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world.”

Taipei hosts IAPCO EDGE Seminar for the third time

With positive feedback received from the previous IAPCO EDGE Seminar Taipei, the city is once again hosting the seminar this year. Inviting meeting professionals and association representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom and Singapore, the faculty will share their real-life experiences along with the latest industry trends.

Making it unique from other training programs in the industry, there are a lot of interactive sessions and in-depth discussion designed for the IAPCO EDGE Seminar. Delegates will be inspired while discussing and exchanging ideas from different points of view. The mix of program content includes bidding, sponsorship, accounting & budgeting, marketing, meeting design, meeting industry trends.

Last year, many overseas delegates were attracted to the seminar, including representatives from Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, Sarawak Convention Bureau and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau. Here is a highlight video of the seminar last year: https://vimeo.com/273861734

Delegates will be given CMP (The Certified Meeting Professional) hours by attending the seminar, in order to improve their competitiveness in the market.

For more information about the seminar and to register, please visit http://iapcoedgetaipei.org/

Date and Time:
Thursday, 18 April – Saturday, 20 April 2019

Taipei Marriott Hotel (No. 199, Lequn 2nd Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan)
Target Audience:  
PCO, International / National Corporate and Association, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Meeting Venue, Hotel, Exhibition Organizer, Destination Management Company, Travel Agency
Mathias Posch (IAPCO President、President, ICS Canada),
Martin Boyle (IAPCO CEO),
Antonio Codinach (Regional Business Director, APAC, PCMA)
About GIS Group Global Co., Ltd.
Founded in 1991, GIS Group is an architect of innovative meeting services. The company provide world-class quality services including meeting management, destination management, audiovisual and congress technology, venue management, catering. We keep our tagline “Every moment inspires!” in mind when serving clients because we strongly believe that not one moment of the event is less important. It is and will always be our mission to create a unique and unforgettable experience for all delegates. We are member of many international associations including ICCA, IAPCO, SITE and CRN. Official website: http://www.gisgroup.com
Media Contact
GIS Group Global Co., Ltd. Ms. Haley So
+886 2 8780 5688 #147         haley.so@gisgroup.com
About IAPCO: Meeting Quality 
IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers) is the leading international association for professional conference organisers. Its mission is to raise the standards of service among its member organisations and other sectors of the meetings industry through continued education, connection and support.  IAPCO represents today 133 companies comprised of over 8300 professional congress organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 40 countries.
For further information, please contact:
IAPCO Head Office: Brambles House, Colwell Road, Freshwater, PO40 9SL, UK    www.iapco.org

New Payment Method for Air Tickets Successfully Demonstrated

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the successful completion of the first “IATA Pay” ticket purchase transaction in a live test environment. The transaction was conducted in partnership with ipagoo, a UK-based fintech company.

IATA Pay is an industry-supported initiative to develop a new payment option for consumers when purchasing a ticket directly from an airline website. It is made possible by the European Commission’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), and the UK’s Open Banking regulation. These regulations encourage use of so-called direct debit transactions in which payments are made from the customer’s bank account directly into the bank account of the merchant. This method offers an extremely high level of security to both user and recipient and can be instantaneous.

IATA’s role is to develop an industry solution enabling airlines to make this payment option available on their websites. The live test conducted with ipagoo was done under the UK’s Open Banking framework with IATA Pay pilot airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways, Scandinavian Airlines and Emirates.

For airlines, the advantages of IATA Pay are:

  • Cheaper payment option compared to other alternatives
  • Highly secure
  • Faster cashflow with instant/near instant payment to the merchant
  • Simpler payment process resulting in fewer lost sales.

For consumers the benefits include access to a new, simpler method of payment that is highly secure.

“Today’s consumers, and especially millennials, have expectations of multiple payment options including mobile and peer-to-peer. IATA Pay responds to these expectations. At the same time, airlines are trying to manage significant card payment costs — $8 billion per year and rising. A large part of this cost is incurred in direct purchases from airline websites. One of IATA’s strategic objectives is to support airlines’ financial sustainability including controlling costs,” said Aleksander Popovich, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Financial and Distribution Services.

Carlos Sanchez, CEO, ipagoo said: “We are delighted to have completed the first Open Banking live transaction for the airline industry, helping IATA and its member airlines to achieve their goals of operational and financial efficiency. ipagoo’s technology provides a secure, multi-country banking service for IATA. We are at the forefront of development and innovation within the financial industry and committed to helping businesses and their clients take advantage of the opportunities provided by Open Banking.”

IATA is also working with Deutsche Bank on a prototype for Europe (excluding the UK), starting with the German market, which is expected to undergo testing in early 2019.

Following this, IATA will validate the concept with the intention to expand to other regions.

Aeroflot named world’s fifth most punctual airline and second in Europe

10 January 2019, Moscow Aeroflot was the world’s fifth most punctual airline in 2018, according to authoritative UK aviation publication FlightGlobal.

According to the annual FlightStats On-Time Performance Service (OPS) Awards, Aeroflot also ranked second among Europe’s leading airlines, behind KLM only.

Throughout 2018, 82.98% of Aeroflot flights operated according to schedule, one of the best results in the global industry.

The FlightStats OPS Awards is one of the most comprehensive and objective ratings globally, analysing more than 120,000 flights daily. Departures and arrivals are monitored in real time, with data from 600 global sources.

“Aeroflot is continuously improving its quality of service,” said Vitaly Saveliev, CEO of Aeroflot. “We make every effort to ensure our passengers’ trips are as comfortable and punctual as possible. Our priority is to provide the most comprehensive consideration of passengers’ needs along with attention to detail at all stages of service.”

In 2018, Aeroflot took a number of measures to improve punctuality, including strict implementation of boarding regulations and hand-luggage requirements. Plans including innovations based on the latest digital technologies, such as biometric controls, will significantly facilitate and accelerate pre-flight airport procedures for passengers in future.

About Aeroflot

Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship carrier and a proud member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. Aeroflot serves 152 destinations in 55 countries.

Aeroflot’s 252-strong fleet is the youngest of any airline worldwide that operates more than 100 aircraft. In 2017, Aeroflot carried 32.8 million passengers (50.1 million passengers as Aeroflot Group including subsidiaries).

Aeroflot holds 4-Star Airline status from Skytrax and was named Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the seventh time at the 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Aeroflot has also been awarded a five-star global airline rating by US aviation association APEX.

Aeroflot is the world’s strongest airline brand according to leading brand strategy consultancy Brand Finance.

Find out more at http://www.aeroflot.com/

We  are  glad to inform you, that exhibition center ExpoGeorgia will host  the 21th International Caucasus Tourism Fair – CTF 2019 on May 03-05, 2019.
In the frame of CTF 2019 we will host Caucasus MICE and HORECA Georgia exhibitions.
Exhibition is an international platform for Georgia’s domestic,  regional  and  international  tourism development and always   accompanied   by  entertaining  events, presentations, B2B meetings and conferences.
Teona Tavadze,
Head of the Sales Department
Exhibition Center ExpoGeorgia
118, Tsereteli Ave.
Tel: + 995 32 2 341100 (ext: 106)
Cell: + 995 577 733995