Taiwan to join US Global Entry program

Beginning November 1, 2017, Taiwanese passport holders will be eligible to join the US Global Entry program, designed to expedite immigration and customs processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. US citizens enrolled in a US Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program (e.g. Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI) will be eligible to register for e-Gate, an automated border control system for entry into Taiwan, for a fee of NT$3,000 (~US$100). Taiwan will be the 12th country in the world to be eligible for Global Entry, while the US is the first country to be eligible for Taiwan’s e-Gate.

This development follows the fifth anniversary of Taiwan’s inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program, which led to almost 60% increase in Taiwanese visitors to the US.  American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy and Taiwanese Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong announced the launch together with representatives from the US Customs and Border Protection, Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Taiwanese National Immigration Agency.

Advertisements

China threatens US Congress over Taiwan legislation

In response to the passage of Taiwan Travel Act in the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 12, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson reiterated its continued opposition to any official US-Taiwan contacts, while the Washington Post reported that the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to block Taiwan-related legislation. Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai expressed “grave concern” over the Taiwan Travel Act (House and Senate versions), the Taiwan Security Act and both the House and Senate (section 1270) versions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Taiwan Travel Act will encourage official travel between Taiwan and the US. The US Department of State currently imposes restrictions on official travels between the two countries due to the lack of official diplomatic relationship. The Taiwan Security Act and Taiwan-related provisions in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act encourages military exchanges between Taiwanese and American armed forces and authorizes ships to make port calls to both sides’ naval bases. All aforementioned legislation still need to pass both chambers of the US Congress.

72nd UN General Assembly General Debate

Friendly words highlighting Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN exist, even as China grows more and more hostile every day.

Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, President of Paraguay:

El Gobierno de la República del Paraguay, nuevamente insta a todos los países miembros de este organismo, a identificar maneras adecuadas para facilitar la participación de Taiwán, en los mecanismos, reuniones y actividades del sistema de Naciones Unidas, para que sus 23 millones de habitantes puedan ejercer normalmente sus responsabilidades de ciudadano global, y realizar esfuerzos concertados para establecer alianzas sostenibles con todos los países.

[The Government of the Republic of Paraguay, once again, calls upon Member States of this organization to identify appropriate ways to facilitate Taiwan’s participation in mechanisms, meetings and activities of the United Nations System, in order to allow its 23 million inhabitants to normally exercise their responsibilities as global citizens and to make efforts to for the establishment of sustainable partnerships with all countries.]

Continue reading “72nd UN General Assembly General Debate”

Charter 08

In honor of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chinese dissident who passed away just hours ago, we are posting his dream of a democratic China in the form of his Charter 08, a petition written to advocate for China’s transformation into a true democracy. May he rest in peace and finally be free.

I. Foreword

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values. Continue reading “Charter 08”

Going back on (historical) words

When asked about Hong Kong’s “rights and freedoms protected by the Sino-British Joint Declaration”, on June 30, before the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said:

As for the remarks made by those from the US and the UK, I want to stress that Hong Kong is China’s SAR, and Hong Kong affairs belong to China’s domestic affairs. The Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984) clearly marks the transitional period off from China resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. It’s been 20 years now since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, and the arrangements during the transitional period prescribed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration are now history and of no practical significance, nor are they binding on the Chinese central government’s administration of the Hong Kong SAR. The British side has no sovereignty, no power to rule and supervise Hong Kong after the handover. It is hoped that relevant people will come around to this.

至于媒体报道英美有关人士的表态,我想强调,香港是中国的特别行政区,香港事务属于中国内政。1984年的《中英联合声明》就中方恢复对香港行使主权和过渡期有关安排作了清晰划分。现在香港已经回归祖国怀抱20年,《中英联合声明》作为一个历史文件,不具有任何现实意义,对中国中央政府对香港特区的管理也不具备任何约束力。英方对回归后的香港没有主权,没有治权,也没有监督权。希望上述人士认清现实。

Of no practical significance, nor are they binding. Best wishes to the people of Hong Kong, especially those still fighting for those rights and freedoms. Taiwan must take note.

Nigeria forces Taiwan trade office to relocate

After securing a lucrative investment package from China during the visit of Chinese foreigner minister in January this year, Nigeria ordered Taiwan to rename and move its trade office from the current capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos, as well as to reduce the number of staff. Numerous negotiations between Taiwan and Nigeria followed, but to no avail.

Facing strong pressure from China, the director of Taiwan trade office was forced to leave the African country on March 31 as Nigeria could no longer guarantee his safety. Yesterday, Nigeria sent military police to close off the Taiwanese office in Abuja and forced staff to leave. Continue reading “Nigeria forces Taiwan trade office to relocate”