File of Agreement between Taiwan, US Lost: Sources

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The new accord signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the United States on privileges and immunities for diplomatic staff in February was reported missing in the Legislative Yuan database yesterday.

The agreement on privileges, exemptions and immunities was signed in Washington on Feb. 5 by King Pu-tsung ([...]), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., and Barbara Schrage, managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). After being approved by the Executive Yuan on March 7, the agreement was sent to the Legislative Yuan to be passed and listed for future reference.

There was no inkling of the Legislative Yuan's approval after three months; legislators did not have a grasp of the exact contents as the agreement could not be located in the Yuan files, sources said. The agreement or related reports were also not found in the Federal Register of the U.S. Government.

The Taiwanese government did not publicize the complete contents of the agreement, but the AIT later released a copy of the agreement on its website after the Legislative Yuan allegedly reported the "disappearance" of the file.

A MOFA spokesperson said that the government normally does not publicize any agreements signed between Taiwan and the U.S. on the Internet.

Under the reciprocal agreement, diplomatic personnel will enjoy the same privileges and immunities as those working for countries with formal diplomatic relations, said Bruce Linghu ([...]), director-general of the ministry's Department of North American Affairs.

The previous agreement, signed in 1980, gave U.S. and Taiwanese diplomatic workers "'immunity' from suit and legal processes equivalent to those enjoyed by public international organizations in the United States. …