Taiwan feels for HK, stands against China’s ‘one country, two systems’ policy

Marje Pelayo   •   November 26, 2019   •   711

Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu during a briefing with members of international media in Taipei, Taiwan (November 22, 2019) Photo: Chris Narag / UNTV Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The months-long protest in Hong Kong may have ended with a victory for pro-democracy group but still, an influx of Hong Kong nationals seeking residency in Taiwan caught the attention of Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng in an interview on Thursday (November 22) said most Hong Kong nationals moved to Taiwan to invest, to get married to Taiwan citizens or mostly to study based on statistics from the National Immigration Agency (NIA).

The minister did not give a direct answer when asked if the recent influx of Hong Kong nationals to Taiwan was caused by the anti-government protests that lasted nearly six months.

Similar to Hong Kong, Taiwan also experiences diplomatic pressure from China and what happened to Hong Kong is a matter of concern not just to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Joseph Wu.

“The situation is very sad for us to see and if you look at the current situation it doesn’t seem to [have] an immediate solution to it,” he said in a meeting with reporters in Taipei.

“On the other hand, the demand of people of Hong Kong for more freedom or more democracy is not being met. And on the other hand, the Chinese seems to be ready to apply more control over Hong Kong,” he added.

Since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, Taiwan has been vocal in its opposition against China’s call for unification under “one country, two systems” policy similar to Hong Kong.  

Since then, several countries switched their allegiance from Taiwan to China as the latter announced it would refuse any diplomatic ties with any country that would recognize the former’s self-rule.

Just recently, two of Taiwan’s former allies, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands shifted recognition to China.

Wu accused China of making “false” aid promises such as billions-dollar worth of infrastructure projects to some of Taiwan’s former allies.

“To lure Taiwan’s allies to build ties with them, China often makes promises with huge amounts of money,” Wu said

“But we realize those promises were not fulfilled,” he added.

At present, only 15 countries recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, most of them are less developed ones.

They are:

  1. Belize (1989)
  2. Guatemala (1960)
  3. Eswatini1 (1968)
  4. Haiti (1956)
  5. Honduras (1965)
  6. Marshall Islands (1998)
  7. Nauru (1980–2002, 2005)
  8. Nicaragua (1990)
  9. Palau (1999)
  10. Paraguay (1957)
  11. Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983)
  12. Saint Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
  13. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
  14. Tuvalu (1979)
  15. Vatican City (1942)

Recently, Tuvalu expressed their support for Taiwan despite offers from China.

President Tsai is seeking reelection in January 2020. If she wins, she vows to continuously defend Taiwan’s democracy. MNP (with inputs from Amiel Pascual)

Hong Kong to take off masks in public, reopen cinemas starting August 28

Marje Pelayo   •   August 26, 2020

Starting August 28, the government of Hong Kong will ease several social distancing measures in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Secretary for Food & Health, Professor Sophia Chan.

“Under the new normal, it is almost not possible for us to wait until there are no more local cases before relaxing the social distancing measures,” the official said in a media briefing on Tuesday (August 25).

Chan said unless there are drastic changes to the epidemic situation, the government would issue new directions before Friday specifically the following:

(1) Extend the dine-in services allowed to 9 pm; 

(2) Allow re-opening of scheduled premises including cinemas, beauty parlours and also some outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact; and 

(3) Allow people not to wear masks in country parks and while doing exercise.

Prof. Chan reminded the public, however, that while the number of daily new cases has been gradually declining, the epidemic situation still has not completely stabilized.

Thus, she advised Hong Kong nationals not to be complacent and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

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Researchers detected first COVID-19 reinfection in Hong Kong

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 25, 2020

Several experts have confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reinfection in Hong Kong.

Based on the report, the 33-year-old patient got infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong and recovered last April. However, he again tested positive for the virus mid-August after traveling to Spain and the United Kingdom.

Experts say he got infected with two different strains of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the exact immune response time of a recovered COVID-19 patient is yet to be determined.

“What we are learning about infection is that people do develop an immune response and what is not completely clear yet is how strong that immune response is and for how long that immune response lasts,” according to WHO Health Emergencies Program Technical Lead Maria Van Kerhove.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) said they are still reviewing the reinfection situation.

Tinitignan po natin at minamapa natin ang (We’re still looking into and mapping out the) international experiences, so that we can have appropriate evidence and we can give you accurate information,” DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

The DOH is also reviewing the cases of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and that of Dr. Karen Senen who recently succumbed to COVID-19.

The Health Department reiterates the importance of following minimum health standards to prevent the spread of the virus. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Taiwan requires mandatory quarantine for travelers from PH starting August 12

Marje Pelayo   •   August 11, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government of Taiwan imposed a new quarantine policy for travelers arriving from the Philippines starting Wednesday (August 12). 

The country’s Health Ministry announced the new regulation on Sunday (August 9) prompted by the rising number of imported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases from the Philippines, according to the latest report of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The CECC reported that five percent of all arrivals from the Philippines between July 16 to August 8 tested positive for COVID-19 in comparison with only 0.03 percent for those coming from other parts of the world.

Under the new regulation, all travelers from the Philippines will be transported upon arrival to official quarantine locations to serve the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. 

This applies to Taiwanese citizens, resident permit holders, migrant workers, international students, and diplomatic officials. 

The 14-day stay in the quarantine facility will  incur a fee of NT$1,500 equivalent to US$51 (P2,500) per day except for  Taiwanese citizens and resident permit holders whose expenses will be shouldered by the government. MNP (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

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