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Applications open for MOFA draftees to be stationed abroad overseas

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will soon be accepting applications from substitute service draftees who wish to be stationed with the diplomatic service abroad, a MOFA official announced yesterday.

Speaking during a MOFA news briefing, John Lai (賴建中), head of MOFA's Department of Economic and Trade Affairs, said the option offers draftees the chance to exercise their professional abilities in an international environment while helping the government strengthen diplomatic ties.

This year, the ministry will be recruiting 89 conscripts to join the overseas service, he noted.

The ministry welcomes those conscripts specialized in agriculture, gardening, animal husbandry, information technology, medicine, Spanish language and marketing to submit applications from April 1 to 16.

After being selected to join the overseas service, Lai said the servicemembers will first undergo three weeks of basic training at Cheng Gong Ling (成功嶺) training center in Taichung this August, before joining for another six weeks of intensive language and specialties trainings.

They will then, in late October, be dispatched to serve in technical and medical missions in Taiwan's diplomatic allies throughout Asia and the Pacific, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa, Lai said.

The official, however, reminded the applicants to obtain approval from their parents before applying for doing their compulsory service aboard.

Since its establishment in 2000, the overseas service program for conscripts has seen 1,005 young servicemembers dispatched to various parts of the world, according to MOFA.

More information can be found on the National Conscription Agency's website at www.nca.gov.tw.

Mandarin Teachers to Teach at Allies

Speaking at the same briefing yesterday, International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) Secretary-General Tao Wen-lung (陶文隆) said that Taiwan is scheduled to send its first batch of certified professionals to its diplomatic allies and other friendly countries to teach Mandarin Chinese later this year.

In April and May, the first batch of 22 Chinese teachers will be flying to several diplomatic allies such as Panama, Paraguay, El Salvador and Nicaragua and other countries with which Taiwan has good ties.

The project was launched to meet the rising demand in foreign countries for learning Chinese, he noted.

He said the ICDF will regularly conduct evaluations on these teachers to ensure the quality of their lessons. The ICDF is still recruiting more Chinese teachers to join the project, he added.

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