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.
Caroline Gluck, a former BBC correspondent started to engage in humanitarian aid work in 2009, working for Oxfam and ECHO. Since 2015, she has started to work for UNHCR (United Nations Humanitarian Refugee Agency) based in Baghdad, Iraq. She helped with the humanitarian aid in Haiti after the devastating earthquake and personally witnessed the influx of refugees from Syria to Iraq. Let’s hear from Caroline Gluck, a senior public information officer of UNHCR in Iraq and why she wrote the book No Dead Bodies After 3:30 PM.
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President Tsai Ing-wen on her first National Day address stressed that she would maintain a consistent, predictable and sustainable relationship with mainland China while maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. But China reacted by saying the 1992 consensus remains the touchstone for China’s Taiwan policy. Cross-strait relations have become delicate after President Tsai took office in May. China reiterated that Taiwan must accept the 1992 consensus as a precondition for participating in international organizations and blocked Taiwan’s participation at the world’s leading civil aviation summit, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) in late September.
Let’s hear from a political scientist from Saint Lucia, Prof.Denys Springer. Prof.Springer is the former director of the Government Information Service of Saint Lucia and a visiting research fellow at Academia SInica, the highest academic institution in Taiwan.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa with a population of around 18 million. Taiwan and Burkina Faso have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1994. The minister of foreign affairs of Burkina Faso Alpha Barry recently visited Taiwan and said the change of the governments in Taiwan and Burkina Faso has not affected relations between the countries adding that there have many cooperative projects going on. Since 1994, Taiwan has expanded medical cooperation by establishing health centers in villages in Burkina Faso and the National Hospital of Blaise Compaoré is one of the most modern and biggest hospitals in West Africa.
The foreign minister said that Taiwanese project, “A Lamp Lighting up Africa” has helped with providing LED lamps for students in rural areas to study at night. Students have to go to school in the day time to re-charge the lamps and that encourages more young children to receive education.More
Turkish representative, Ambassador Ismet Erikan has been actively promoting Turkey to Taiwanese. He said October is a Turkish month filled with many Turkish cultural activities. Ambassador Ismet Erikan said the launching of the direct flight between Taipei and Istanbul opens a window of opportunity for both Taiwanese and Turkish. He hopes the cargo flight will be filled with merchandise from Turkey to Taiwan one day.
Ambassador Ismet Erikan is a seasoned diplomat and he has been promoting cultural exchanges by helping Turkish artists hold exhibitions in Taiwan. He said cultural diplomacy touches the heart of the people and he vows to go to one university to lecture on Turkey in Taiwan. He even goes to elementary and middle schools to promote his country.
Turkish representative Ambassador Ismet Erikan said Turkey is just as safe as any other major countries in Europe despite the fact Turkey is still placed under the state of emergency citing that the state of emergency applies more to the government rather than to the public. He said any Taiwanese whom he met that has been to Turkey after the attempted military coup said Turkey is a safe travel destination.
The Turkish representative said Taiwanese can apply the Turkish visa on line without having to pay any fee. He jokingly added that one day at a seminar when he mentioned the whole process could be completed within three minutes, a Taiwanese lady corrected him by saying it took her only two minutes.
The exhibition of Country Focus at Taiwan Designers’ Week 2016 houses a collection of 42 works from Israel in collaboration with Holon Institute of Technology. Professor Dana Arieli, a professor at H.I.T Holon Institute of Technology is in Taiwan to attend the event. She was Dean of Design Faculty at H.I.T Holon Institute of Technology between 2004-2012 and once served as the head of History and Theory Department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Her research deals with interrelations between Art and Politics in both totalitarian and democratic systems. She said when there is an oppression, there is no autonomy in art. She has published a few books and one of them is The Nazi Phantom: A Journey after the Third Reich
For more information on High Contrast at Taiwan Designers’ Week 2016.
Fore more about Prof.Dana Arieli,
DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said as part of the New Southbound Policy, the government of Taiwan has recently relaxed visa requirements for Southeast Asian tourists, in August, citizens of Thailand and Brunei were granted visa-free entry to Taiwan and in September, visa requirements for nationals of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos have been relaxed. Similar visa relaxation has been previously granted to passport holders of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.
DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said that with the decrease in the number of mainland Chinese tourists, maybe it is a good time for the travel agencies and tour bus operators to switch their target customers to tourists from Southeast Asia now, adding that she understands the challenges ahead with the lack of tour guides who speak languages of Southeast Asian countries. She said she will also listen to different opinions and concerns voiced by the travel agencies and tour bus operators to help solve the problems together.
DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said President Tsai Ing-wen has been in office for more than 100 days now and the new administration has carried out many reforms including labor and pension reforms, adding that reforms take a long time and we should give the government some time.
Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said the aim of the government is to establish a sustainable pension system to ensure that all retirees in Taiwan can have a good standard of living. Pension reforms will be guided by principles to ensure that seniors have a basic livelihood. It is necessary to have the pension reform now, according to the statistics, spending on civil servants’ pension accounts for 8% of the government’s annual budget and each retiree receives an average pension payment of more than NT$56,000 (USD$1,780) per month, more than double the amount for laborers. These retirees include veterans, retired civil servants and school teachers. Apart from that, they enjoy the 18% preferential interest rate on pension deposits.
The number of migrant workers in Taiwan has totaled around 590,000 people, an increase of 220,000 workers over the last decade. Most of the workers are from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. There are around 60,000 Thai workers in Taiwan and according to the head of the Labor Division of Taipei Office of the Thailand Trade and Economic Office, Mrs.Lupthawan Walsh, most of them are engaged in the manufacturing industry. Some do the construction work. 41,000 of whom are located in the northern and central parts of Taiwan and 19,000 in the south. Thai workers are known for their hard-working attitude and have become important in many labor markets around the world including in the Middle East, and Korea. Taiwan is the largest recipient of Thai workers so far.
In late August, Taiwan’s International elite leadership seminar sponsored by Taiwan’s foreign ministry brought together 26 young elites from Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Mongolia. Some of them work for their governments and parliaments, while others are involved with the media, NGOs and academic institutions.
Our guests this week are Ms.Yulia Tolkishevskaya, Analyst of International Cooperation Department at Skolkovo Foundation in Russia, Ms.Ana Diakonidze, a lecturer at Tbilisi State University (TSU) in Georgia and Ms.Olga Rosca, media adviser at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London. Olga Rosca is from Moldova.More
Professor Ido Bruno, a professor at Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design,recently visited Taiwan to showcase to the Taiwanese the earthquake-proof tables. The table, designed by Bezalel student Arthur Brutter and his instructor Ido Bruno, is engineered to shield two students from a ton of debris and falling objects when an earthquake strikes. The earthquake-proof desk can withstand a vertical impact tests of up to 1000 kg.
The idea, according to Professor Ido Bruno came from his student, Arthur Brutter’s soldier friend who witnessed children killed in the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Professor Ido Bruno said the cost of the earthquake-proof table should not be more than twice as much as a standard table. He understands that many schools in developing countries cannot afford these tables but his is aim is to provide affordable protection to people in earthquake-prone areas of the world and not to make money. So for each country, he has a tailor-made strategy, for example in Bhutan, the patent owner, A.D. Meraz company gives the sole copyright for free to produce the tables in that south Asian country.
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Mr.Achilles Yeh, the representative of Mozambique Investment Promotion Centre said his office was founded in Taiwan three years ago to promote investment opportunities and provide assistance to FDI (Foreign Direct Investment). His main job is also to target certain Taiwanese industries to invest in Mozambique, for example, manufacturing and value added chains.
Products in Mozambique need to be re-packaged to add value to be exported to other countries and in 2015, two Taiwanese companies in Taiwan invested in packaging industries in Mozambique.
The Mozambique representative added that Mozambique has a population of between 23-25 million but the market around the region is around 100-150 million. Most importantly, Mozambique has a rise in consumerism. In the last five years, he has seen an increase of investment from Southeast Asian countries as well.
Recently he invited three famous Mozambique musicians: Walter Mabas, Orlando Venhereque,and Dua Maciel, not only to showcase Mozambique music but to let more Taiwanese get to know more about this exotic destination.
Preview of the interview on You Tube