Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Taiwan

Newsline: US to station marines at de facto embassy in Taipei

The United States will station 10 to 15 marines at the country’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, a former US diplomat said on Friday (Feb 17), in a move set to incur China’s anger. In an interview on Taiwanese radio station Hit FM, William Stanton – the director from 2009 to 2012 of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which acts as the US embassy on the island in the absence of official ties – confirmed the deployment. Another former AIT director, Stephen Young, had mentioned the plan at a seminar in Washington.


Newsline: Taiwan embassy staff to be withdrawn from Gambia

The Republic of China will shut down its embassy and technical mission in Gambia now that the two countries have severed diplomatic relations, Foreign Minister David Lin said Monday. Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Shih announced the termination of diplomatic ties with The Gambia with immediate effect at a news conference earlier in the day. The announcement came three days after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s office issued a statement saying that the country would cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.


Newsline: Kiribati to open embassy in Taiwan

Kiribati will open an embassy in Taipei May 31, with Kiribati President Anote Tong hosting the inauguration ceremony, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday. Tong will visit Taiwan May 29-June 4, during which he is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-Pyng to discuss issues of mutual concern, said Benjamin Ho, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at a news briefing.


Newsline: Philippine de facto ambassador apologizes to Taiwan

The Philippines’ de facto ambassador to Taiwan has apologized to the family of the Taiwanese fisherman who was killed by the Philippine military during an encounter in overlapping waters of the two countries on Thursday. “We’d like to convey our sincerest condolences and apologies to the family of Mr. Hung (Shih-cheng),” Taiwan’s national news agency, the Central News Agency (CNA), quoted Antonio Basilio, head of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), as saying. MECO is the Philippines’ representative office in Taiwan in the absence of official bilateral ties. The Philippines, like most countries, formally recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, but maintains trade and tourism ties with Taiwan. Basilio apologized in a press briefing at the headquarters of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) following his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Joseph Shih. The Philippine envoy was summoned by the MOFA to explain Manila’s stance on the matter. According to Basilio, the Philippine government will continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the “tragic incident.”


Newsline: Taiwan defends promotion of diplomat

The promotion of diplomat Jerry Chang to deputy head of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs was made in accordance with regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said. “Chang is a fitting choice for the post because of his rich experience in international trade,” MOFA spokesman said. Also, the promotion of Chang, a former division chief in Taiwan’s representative office in Singapore, does not violate the Civil Service Promotion Act that stipulates a public servant cannot receive a promotion if he or she has been handed out a sentence by a court or suspended because of dereliction of official duties, Kao noted. The MOFA spokesman’s comments came after a local newspaper report that said the ministry has ignored the government watchdog Control Yuan’s report last year that asked that Chang be punished for failing to cooperate with a probe into a controversy involving several diplomats stationed in the East Asian city-state. The Control Yuan had accused several MOFA officials, including Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih, then Taiwan’s top envoy to Singapore, of being “negligent” in their duties while serving in the city-state and allegedly causing a diplomatic row between the two countries. After demands from the Control Yuan, several MOFA officials were asked to be given administrative punishments. Among the list were Chang and Shih. Shih, however, who was charged by Control Yuan members with “serious dereliction of duty” during her three-year tenure as representative to Singapore, was ultimately not punished by MOFA. She was later promoted to the post of vice foreign minister in July 2012. Chang, instead of being punished, was also promoted to the position of deputy director-general of MOFA’s Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs last month.


Newsline: US “embassy” at center of Taiwan contract dispute

Dozens of Taiwanese building workers staged a protest as part of their dispute with a contractor that has halted work on a new de facto US embassy since last month. The US-headquartered Weston Solutions in 2009 won the US$54.4 million (HK$424.32 million) contract to design and build the first phase of the new American Institute in Taiwan located in Taipei’s suburbs. The AIT represents US interests in Taiwan. But three Taiwanese subcontractors say that since November 2011 Weston Solutions has been defaulting on payments to them. They say the arrears now total NT$473.83 million (HK$122.38 million) and want AIT to help solve the issue. But AIT spokesman Mark Zimmer said the dispute is between the contractor and subcontractors.


Newsline: Tuvalu to open embassy in Taiwan next week

Taiwan’s diplomatic ally Tuvalu will open an embassy in Taipei next week, a move expected to boost bilateral ties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Tuvalu Prime Minister Willy Telavi and Ambassador to Taiwan Minute Taupo will co-host the embassy’s opening ceremony in Taipei on March 14, said Chou Yin-hwou, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The embassy’s office will be located in the Taipei World Trade Center’s International Trade Building, Chou said. The South Pacific island country of Tuvalu is one of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies.