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MOFA denies involvement in invitation error

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday denied involvement in an error made by a local nongovernmental organization that sent a press invitation to reporters on Monday and promised they would receive money if they covered a press event organized by MOFA.

Local media reported yesterday that the Taipei-based China Youth Corps (CYC, 中國青年救國團) on Monday sent a media invitation to local journalists, inviting them to join a MOFA event to be held at CYC's Chien Tan Overseas Youth Activity Center (劍潭青年活動中心) in Taipei on Thursday.

The press invitation said that all reporters who come to the event will receive NT$1,000 from MOFA to cover their travel expenses, reports said.

The CYC later recalled the invitation and stressed that the invitation's mention of a travel expense stipend was an error made by one of its staff.

Asked to comment, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) yesterday stressed the incident has nothing to do with MOFA.

Meanwhile, Dale Jieh (介文汲), head of MOFA's Department of Policy Planning, yesterday said the ministry was not aware of such “inappropriate” press invitations released by the CYC invitation on its behalf, and that it was extremely shocked over the incident.

The CYC later explained to MOFA that the error was a mistake made by one of its staff that was responsible for organizing the event.

The staff member thought the move could attract more journalists to cover the Thursday's event, Jieh said. The CYC did not consult with MOFA beforehand, he noted.

He added that the Foreign Ministry would never offer money to journalists in exchange for them in covering press events.

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