Taiwan has made it clear to Vietnam that its construction of a runway on an island in the South China Sea is not for military purposes, Michel Lu (呂慶龍), a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday.
Lu said Taiwan's representative to Hanoi, Huang Ju-li, had relayed this message to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Thursday afternoon, adding that the runway on Taiping Island, which is an islet of the Spratly Islands (南沙島), is meant for medical airlift purposes and for the defense of Taiwan's waterways.
He made the remarks in response to a statement issued earlier in the day by the Vietnam foreign ministry, in which Hanoi asked Taiwan to stop building the runway, calling it a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty.
The Spratly Islands are claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday that he has invited executives of the Hong Leong Group of Singapore to visit Taichung in May 2006 to study the feasibility of building a "six-star" tourist hotel.
Hu, who just returned to Taiwan from a trade-promotion trip to Singapore, told news media that while in Singapore, he had met with executives of the Hong Leong Group and invited them to come to Taichung in May to see the investment climate in Taichung first-hand.
Selling off properties
The properties that the opposition Kuomintang sold recently could be construed as having once belonged to the government, but the statue of limitations on their recovery has long since expired, Vice Minister of Finance Lee Jui-chang said yesterday.
In a briefing to the legislative caucus of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, Lee said the real estate occupied by the Central Motion Picture Corp. and Broadcasting Corporation of China, the two companies sold by the KMT, was either transferred to the party without cost by the KMT government when the island was handed over to the Republic of China by Japan at the end of World War II or was purchased by the party afterward with money provided by the government.
Web site for birds
The International Taiwan Birding Association opened an English-language Web site yesterday to help the world understand Taiwan's conservation efforts with regard to wild birds and to invite bird lovers to join guided tours to watch Taiwan's endemic bird species.
The Web site (www.birdingintaiwan.com) has a detailed description of some 15 bird species endemic to Taiwan, along with pictures.