Friday, November 16, 2001

Taiwan offers talks on ‘one China’ issue

TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwan offered yesterday to talk with Beijing on the “one China” issue, which has been the stumbling block for rapprochement between the two rivals.

“We are more than happy to sit down with them to find a way out of this,” said Tsai Ing-wen, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, which charts Taiwan’s China policy.

“The issue itself is not something without resolution. It’s a matter of whether you are prepared to resolve it, and have sufficient flexibility to face it.”

Beijing has insisted that Taipei accept its “one China” principle that both sides belong to one China and will eventually be reunited before sitting down to discuss the island, to which the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek retreated as they lost China’s civil war to Mao Tse-tung’s communists in 1949.

Taiwan has until now refused to embrace the “one China” framework, saying it would downgrade Taipei to a local government under Beijing.

Seoul mayor to share clean-government tips

SEOUL The mayor of Seoul told Reuters yesterday he plans to give the United Nations a manual so other cities around the world can copy his widely acclaimed Internet-based system for fighting corruption.

Goh Kun, a powerful politician who has served as prime minister and comes from the same region as President Kim Dae-jung, returned to City Hall for a second mayoral term in 1998 with a pledge to fight corruption.

Soon after taking office in one of Asia’s biggest cities, he introduced the Online Procedures Enhancement for Civilian Applications. Behind that unwieldy title is an idea capitalizing on South Korea’s wide Internet use.

Singapore to host water-closet summit

SINGAPORE The modern toilet has many names, but it will be the sole topic at an international summit here next week.

Some 200 delegates from as far afield as Finland, Britain, the United States, India, Japan and Taiwan will discuss design, ventilation, sanitation, incontinence and the future of a device that is still a luxury in many parts of the developing world.

Highlights of the summit starting Monday include a mime performance depicting desirable and undesirable toilet behavior and a tour of some of squeaky-clean Singapore’s finest restrooms.

Weekly notes

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Donald Tsang will visit Europe tomorrow through Nov. 24 to update key business and political leaders on the territory’s latest developments. Mr. Tsang is to meet leaders in London, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg to explain the opportunities offered by the territory in the wake of China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. Two senior Khmer Rouge leaders, former military chief Ta Mok and reputed torture and execution jailer Kang Kek Iue (“Duch”), could be released from jail owing to delays in holding a U.N. assisted trial aimed at finding justice for 1.7 million Cambodians who died under Pol Pot, officials in Phnom Penh said yesterday.

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