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Archive for Taiwan

Newsline: Panama opens embassy in Beijing after break with Taiwan

Panama has opened an embassy in China, the Central American country’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, deepening its links with the world’s No. 2 economy after its diplomatic break with longtime ally Taiwan. Panama established diplomatic ties with China in June and broke with Taiwan in a major victory for Beijing, as it lures away the dwindling number of countries that have formal relations with the self-ruled island that China regards as a wayward province. “The opening of the embassy of the Republic of Panama in the People’s Republic of China has been done in accordance with the rules that dictate diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Panama’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It added that the embassy was already functioning, although an ambassador had yet to be installed. Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China’s trade office in the country had on July 13 formally become its embassy in Panama.



Newsline: Taiwan to close embassy in Panama on July 12

Taiwan will officially close its embassy in Panama on Wednesday as the former ally does the same in Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said Tuesday. The embassies will shut down, diplomatic staff will leave, and implementation of all bilateral cooperation programs and agreements between the two countries will be terminated, Wang said at a press conference held by the ministry. Wang noted, however, that the ROC-Panama free trade agreement (FTA) will remain in force until the two sides reach a new consensus on bilateral trade relations or strike a new trade deal. Although Panama has repeatedly expressed the hope that the two sides open commercial offices in each other’s territory, Taiwan’s economic and trade authorities are still studying the proposal, Wang said. Also, questions like whether or not the proposed offices would have consular functions, such as issuing travel documents, are still to be resolved through bilateral talks, she added. Panama switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China on June 13 (Taiwan time).


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.