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Taiwan protests cancelation of digital minister's speech at South Korean conference

Digital Minister Audrey Tang was disinvited from South Korean global policy conference

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Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang. 

Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has summoned the acting South Korean representative in Taipei to express dissatisfaction over Seoul’s decision to cancel Digital Minister Audrey Tang’s (唐鳳) speech during its Fourth Global Policy Conference on the Fourth Industrial Revolution last week.

The South Korean Government’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Committee on Dec. 16 abruptly removed Tang’s speech from the virtual meeting’s agenda. In response, MOFA lodged representations with the acting South Korean representative. and Taiwan’s envoy to South Korea Diann-wen Tang (唐殿文) expressed dissatisfaction in Seoul, according to a MOFA press release.

The committee had invited Tang in September to give a speech on Taiwan's digital social innovation at the conference, which she gladly accepted. However, it suddenly reversed course, saying "various aspects of cross-strait issues" were taken into consideration, MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.

MOFA expressed gratitude for the digital minister’s efforts to help expand Taiwan’s international exchanges and reiterated that Taiwan is “a sovereign and independent country that has the right to communicate and deepen exchanges with other nations.”

The Taiwanese government “will continue safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity and will continue to deepen cooperation with all democratic countries,” MOFA said. It added it will work with other governments to safeguard global freedom, democracy, and human rights and continue to be a “good force in the world.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Committee was established in 2017 by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Its main responsibilities are to research, discuss, and coordinate the development of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and data, and develop industries related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, per the press release.