EETO calls for abolition of death penalty in Taiwan(2011/08/31 CNA)

EETO calls for abolition of death penalty in Taiwan

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) The European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taipei on Wednesday repeated its call for the Taiwan government to abolish the death penalty. 

Frederic Laplanche, who assumed the post of EETO chief on July 20, said Taiwan's efforts on the matter so far had fallen short of expectations after the European Union (EU) issued two statements earlier this year and in 2010 in condemnation of Taiwan's recent executions of death row prisoners. 

"It's not enough at all," the French diplomat said a media briefing. "The Taiwan government should take the right path, which means it should to stop death penalty executions immediately." 
Laplanche noted that other Asian countries such as the Philippines and Cambodia have abolished the death penalty, while Mongolia agreed in 2010 to stop capital punishment. 

Although the death penalty is still on the law books in South Korea, there have been no state executions there in a long time, he added. 

"In many countries, people cannot express their opinions on the death penalty -- they just have to follow their governments' policies," Laplanche said. 

"But it is a core policy of the EU to establish a shared value around the world of ending capital punishment," Laplanche said. 

Asked about the chances of the EU signing a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan, Laplanche said the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei(ECCT) has studied such a possibility and the outlook is "relatively positive."

However, the EU has to concentrate on current market issues first, such as the Taiwan government's ban on certain food imports from Europe, he said. 

Another problem is that it is almost impossible for European companies to bid for government tenders in Taiwan because of the country's regulations, he said. 

Laplanche served as the EETO's deputy director in Taipei from 2004 to 2008, after which he returned to France to fill the position of head of the Far East Division at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

He returned to Taipei earlier this year as chief of the EETO, filling the vacancy left by Guy Ledoux, who was assigned to the Philippines. (By Jeffrey Wu)