Recently there have been rumors that Saint Lucia, an eastern Caribbean nation, might sever ties with Taiwan. Reports that Saint Lucia might switch diplomatic recognition to China have circulated over the last few years, but the relations between Taiwan and Saint Lucia have remained stable. Last year, Saint Lucia signed an agreement with Desert Star Holdings, a Hong Kong-based company, for the development of the Pearl of the Caribbean, a US$2.6 billion project that will include a marina, horse track, casino, free trade zone, shopping complex and housing complex. The plan is to attract mainland Chinese tourists and investors to Saint Lucia.
In an interview with Prof.Denys Springer, former director of the Government Information Service of Saint Lucia and former research fellow of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, he said that he and many other people from different political parties have put pressure on the current government not to establish diplomatic ties with China.
Saint Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984, but in 1997, switched recognition to China. In 2007, Taiwan and Saint Lucia resumed diplomatic ties and the relationship was further strengthened with the opening of the embassy of Saint Lucia in Taipei in June 2015, making it the first embassy in Asia.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) was awarded the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in 2016 for their efforts to rescue and speak out for the disappeared despite facing political pressure and lack of resources.
Ms.Mary Aileen Bacalso, the secretary general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) said Bangladesh has the most cases of enforced disappearances. She said many governments try to justify their problems by using national security as an excuse to take away political dissidents or opponents by force.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances or AFAD was awarded the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in 2016. AFAD is an international human rights organization dedicated to the goal of stopping forced disappearances in Asia. It was founded in June 1998 in Manila, Philippines.
Ms.Mary Aileen Bacalso, the secretary general of AFAD said the winning of the award will amplify their efforts and gains here in Asia especially coming from Taiwan which had a common experience of forced disappearances by the government before the lifting of the martial law in July 1987.
Ms.Bacalso added that the award is a noble expression of friendship and solidarity and dedicated the award to all the disappeared in Asia and the rest of the world.
For more information about AFAD, please visit http://www.afad-online.org/
The Ambassador of Kiribati, Amb.Teekoa Iuta said apart from climate change, Kiribati faces population growth and diseases. Overpopulation is due to the uneven distribution of the population in urban areas such as South Tarawa, the capital city, with a population density of over 3,000 per square km.
The government has been thinking about the redistribution of the population but it has to do with the economic situation in the rural areas. According to Amb.Teekoa Iuta, Taiwan’s technical mission has been assisting with the agricultural and technical support to encourage more young people to move to the rural areas. The government has also been working with churches in the field of birth control as Kiribati is predominantly Roman Catholic which is opposed to artificial contraception.
The Ambassador of Kiribati, Amb.Teekoa Iuta said the relations between Taiwan and Kiribati have been stable and firm adding that the presence of the embassy in Taiwan is a testament to the strength of the existing relations between the two countries.
Kiribati is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Taiwan has helped with the disaster fund when the country is hit by cyclones and supports international forum on climate change held by Kiribati. Paris Agreement was reiterated at the COP 22 that coping with climate change has become a priority for all governments.
To protect the environment food security, the 150,000-square-mile Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati was designated as a UNESCO heritage site and is a fully protected park, making it off limits to fishing.More
Welcome to the first edition of On the Line in the year 2017. On today’s show, I will revisit some of the favorite interviews from the past 12 months in 2016. We first start off with an interview with the former ambassador of Sao Tome and Prince, Ambassador António Quintas that I did in early 2016. Taiwan severed diplomatic ties on Dec.21, 2016 with Sao Tome and Principe, a West African country that established ties with Taiwan in 1997.
Some of the interviews include:
1. Former UK representative in Taiwan, Mr.Chris Wood. Mr.Wood left Taiwan in late August for a new
appointment in Beijing.
2. The Ambassador of St.Lucia, Ambassador Hubert Emmanuel .Saint Lucia is an island country
located in the eastern Caribbean Sea and opened an embassy in Taiwan in June, 2015.
3. Datuk Adeline Leong, the representative of Malaysian Friendship and Trade Centre (MFTC)
4. Former Ambassador of Nauru , Ambassador Ludwig Dowong Keke. Ambassador Keke assumed his
post in 2007 and left in August 2016.
5. DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang
6. Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Berry
7. Ambassador Ismet Erikan, Representative, Turkish Trade Office in Taipei
8. Mr.Achilles Yeh, the representative of the Mozambique Investment Promotion Centre
Asher Yarden, the representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said in the year 2017, he hopes to increase the number of Taiwanese tourists to Israel stating that the number of Taiwanese tourists is between 6,000 and 7,000 which is far from satisfaction even though the number rose from 3,000 in 2010 to around 6,000 in 2014. He will discuss with airline companies both in Taiwan and Israel on the feasibility of direct flight services in the future.
Asher Yarden said the trade volume of US$1.5 billion dollars can also be enhanced. More can be done to increase the understanding of both sides as the Israeli representative says peoples of both sides do not know much about each other and he will do more to promote the bilateral trade relations.
The bilateral trade between Taiwan and Israel reached US $1.5 billion dollars in 2015. Asher Yarden, the representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said economic cooperation is important to Israel and in 2016, his office has invited both Taiwanese and Israeli business delegations to visit each other adding that he has also invited Israeli buyers to Taiwan.
Asher Yarden said the signing of the R&D agreement between Taiwan and Israel in 2015 provides a great opportunity for business companies of both sides to work on R&D and develop new products thereby creating new value through integration.More
The Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, Mr.Mario Ste-Marie said the signing of the avoidance of double taxation in January 2016 will create a friendlier environment for bilateral investment for further cooperation in technology, health care and clean energy
He added that he hopes to boost cooperation in the area of clean energy as Canada hopes to expand its energy export market to Taiwan. Taiwan depends on energy exports particularly LNG (liquefied natural gas) as gas accounts for around 30% of the total energy consumption. Current supply sources come from Qatar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Taiwan’s demand for LNG will continues to rise as the government promotes the use of natural gas for a low-carbon environment.
Another cooperation is in the area of the indigenous people. In Canada, Mr.Mario Ste-Marie said they are known as the First Nations. The cooperation focuses on education and work of the aboriginal peoples of the two sides.
Taiwan and Canada have enjoyed close bilateral exchanges over the last few decades, this can be seen from the growing number of staff at the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei. According to the executive director, Mr.Mario Ste-Marie, the office was founded in 1986 with only three staff members, but today, there’s around 40 staff handling the increasing exchanges.
As a matter of fact, people to people exchanges between Taiwan and Canada started as early as 1871 when a missionary, Dr.George Leslie Mackay arrived in Taiwan and the establishment of Mackay Memorial Hospital in 1912. Canada granted Taiwanese visa-free privileges in November 2010 and Mr.Mario Ste-Marie said as of August this year, the number of Taiwanese has increased by 26% as compared to the previous year. The Canadian has introduced a new entry requirement and starting November this year, all visa-exempt foreign nationals flying to Canada are required to have an eTA (electronic travel authorization).
For more information regarding eTA, please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/
Mme.Zethu Dlamini, the wife of the ambassador of the Kingdom of Swaziland, is a fashion stylist and fashion lifestyle blogger. Zethu Dlamini used to work for Al Ostoura International Company, the oldest luxury fashion retailer in the Middle East, based in Kuwait and for KNOCKBOOK, an online advertising company in Kuwait. She lived in Kuwait before her husband was posted in Taiwan. Zethu Dlamini said there is a connection between Taiwan and Swaziland in the area of charity work, citing an example of Project Cannan that helps abandoned children in Swaziland. Zethu Dlamini said she hopes to do more in the future.
The 22nd session of the Conference to the Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) took place from November 7-18. Tuvalu, Kiribati and Palau are three island nations located in the Pacific Ocean and the effects of the climate change can be seen in these three Pacific countries. The Ambassador of Tuvalu Minute Taupo and the Ambassador of Kiribati Teekoa Iuta both said the rise of sea level is obvious and cyclones become more extreme, adding that the intensity and frequency of days of extreme heat increase and annual rainfall increases as well ocean acidification The Education Attaché of Palau Mr. Jordan Yuri said the sharp decrease of golden jellyfish in Palau due to the effect of climate change is a concrete example. These jellyfish have been known worldwide as they do not sting.More
This year, Kiribati has participated in the Olympic Games in the fourth consecutive time. Tuvalu also sent one athlete and it was the 3rd time for Tuvalu to take part in the international sporting event and it was Palau’s 5th time. The Ambassador of Tuvalu Minute Taupo, the Ambassador of Kiribati Teekoa Iuta and the Education Attaché of Palau Mr. Jordan Yuri all agreed that apart from getting the world to know these south Pacific countries, athletes will also be able perform in the international arena, encouraging more young talents to join the sporting events. Kiribati weightlifter David Kataotau who lost his family in a cyclone danced off the stage each time to raise the awareness of the threat of the climate change poses to his country. Etimoni Timuani, a sprinter from Tuvalu caught the attention saying that he took part to expose his country. His best time is 11.72 seconds This year, Palau’s runner, Rodman Teitull made Olympic history to be the first athlete from Palau to pass the preliminary rounds.More