Taiwan Invites Visitors To Stay In Govt Office

Fancy spending the night in a presidential office?

The unique accommodation is up for grabs in Taiwan, where authorities are rolling out the red carpet for visitors after the island’s tourism industry was hit by a Chinese ban on solo travellers.

“I invite you to visit Taiwan and experience the warmth and hospitality of the people here,” President Tsai Ing-wen said in an English video.

“And while you are here, why don’t you be my guest and spend the night at this presidential office building?”

Up to 20 international tourists will be picked to bed down in the 100-year-old Taipei landmark — free of charge.

An invite to the daily flag-raising ceremony is also to be had, if travellers can brave the 5:30 am start time.

“This programme is the first of its kind in the world and our goal is to show Taiwan’s freedom, democracy and openness,” said presidential spokesman Xavier Chang.

The initiative comes weeks after China announced the suspension of individual travel permits to the island in a move that could hurt its economy.

Taiwan has experienced a sharp drop in mainland tourists since Tsai took office three years ago, and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has accused Beijing of using visitors “as a weapon” to threaten her government.

Beijing still claims the self-ruling, democratic island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

The DPP refuses to recognise the idea that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

Applicants for the programme need to be aged 20 or older, a non-Taiwan citizen and submit their travel plans and a “creative video”. The accommodation is expected to be available from October.

AFP

6.1-Magnitude Quake Hits Taiwan

 

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Taiwan on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said, shaking buildings and disrupting traffic.

In the capital Taipei, highrises swayed while some panicked schoolchildren fled their classrooms in eastern Yilan county, according to reports.

The quake was felt across the island and a highway connecting Yilan and Hualien was shut down due to falling rocks, authorities said.

An official at the Hualien county fire department told AFP that two people, including a male Malaysian tourist, were injured by falling rocks and that the department was planning to send in medics by helicopter.

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Taipei’s metro system was temporarily closed for safety checks following the quake, officials said.

The quake struck at 1:01 pm (0501 GMT) at a depth of 19 kilometres (11.8 miles) in eastern Hualien county.

The central weather bureau also put its magnitude at 6.1. The USGS had earlier measured it as a 6.0 quake, but later revised it to 6.1.

“The tremor could be felt for 33 seconds, which is considered quite long … It could be felt all over Taiwan and it’s the first quake above 6.0 magnitude this year,” said Chen Kuo-chang, director of the bureau’s seismological centre.

Social media users posted photos of the glasses at a restaurant being shattered by the quake, and of the exterior tiles of a department store building falling.

“I live on the 21st floor, the building swayed so much that I was almost scared to death,” one user posted.

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that people living near the coast could notice some effects on sea levels, but said there would be no tsunami, and “there is no concern about damage”.

Hualien was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake last year that killed 17 people.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by quakes.

The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

AFP

China Renews Vows To Reunite With Taiwan

China’s President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 2, 2019. 
Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP

 

Taiwan’s unification with the mainland is “inevitable”, President Xi Jinping said Wednesday, warning against any efforts to promote the island’s independence and saying China would not renounce the option of using military force to bring it into the fold.

China still sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.

 

“China must and will be united… which is an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people in the new era,” Xi said in a speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of a message sent to Taiwan in 1979, in which Beijing called for unification and an end to military confrontation.

“We make no promise to give up the use of military force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means” against Taiwanese separatist activities and “outside forces” that interfere with reunification, he said.

In his speech, Xi described unification under a “one country, two systems” approach that would “safeguard the interests and well-being of Taiwanese compatriots”.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state, with its own currency, political and judicial systems, but has never declared formal independence from the mainland.

Relations have been strained for the past two years since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to acknowledge Beijing’s stance that the island is part of “one China”.

On Tuesday, Tsai warned Beijing that Taiwan’s people would never give up the kind of freedoms unseen on the authoritarian mainland.

Beijing “must respect the insistence of 23 million people for freedom and democracy” and “must use peaceful and equal terms to handle our differences”, she said.

‘Rather empty’

Though Xi’s speech takes a strong stance against Taiwanese separatists and pushes for reunification, it is aimed mostly at domestic audiences, analysts say.

“It’s rather empty and doesn’t have any new points except that cross-strait unification would not affect the interests of other countries,” said Fan Shih-ping, a political analyst at National Taiwan Normal University, adding that Xi’s words may also be intended for the US.

In 2018, the US sent multiple ships through the Taiwan Strait –- which China considers its territory but the US and others see as international waters open to all — infuriating Beijing.

Washington also remains Taipei’s most powerful unofficial ally and its main arms supplier despite switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.

Xi’s speech is likely to be “very poorly received,” by the US, said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, who studies Chinese foreign policy.

‘One country, two systems’

To accommodate differences in Taiwan’s political system and civil society, China has proposed adopting the “one country, two systems” policy, which was implemented in Hong Kong after the British handed the city back to China in 1997.

But some say the erosion of civil liberties in Hong Kong sets a negative precedent for Taiwan.

“They (China) are gobbling up Hong Kong, not just politically but culturally and economically too”, Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker, told AFP.

“It’s so obvious that they’re trying to assimilate Hong Kong into wider mainland China in every way. How would any Taiwanese think that’s going to work for them?”

Last October, tens of thousands of Taiwan independence campaigners took to the streets in the first large-scale protest calling for an outright independence vote since the island first became a democracy more than 20 years ago.

But some in Taiwan say worsening relations with Beijing have harmed business, as cuts to pensions and a reduction in public holidays compound frustrations over a stagnant economy where salaries have not kept up with the rise in cost of living.

Last year, Taiwan’s ruling party suffered a massive defeat in mid-term polls, causing Tsai to resign as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, while the main opposition Kuomintang, which oversaw an unprecedented thaw with Beijing before Tsai took office in 2016, made gains.

Beijing has adopted a multi-pronged approach to diminish Taiwan’s presence on the international stage in recent years, including blocking it from global forums and poaching its dwindling number of official diplomatic allies.

 

AFP

Taiwan Begins Probe Into Train Disaster

A general view shows the location where a Puyuma Express train derailed in Yilan, eastern Taiwan, on October 22, 2018. Taiwan’s president pushed for a swift investigation on October 22 after an express train derailed on a coastal tourist route, killing 18 people as it sent sleeping passengers flying from their seats. Sam YEH / AFP

 

Taiwan’s president pushed for a swift investigation Monday after an express train derailed on a coastal tourist route, killing 18 people as it sent sleeping passengers flying from their seats.

The crash on the popular east coastline injured another 187 people Sunday and left the Puyuma Express lying zig-zagged across the tracks in the island’s worst rail accident for a quarter century.

Among those who died, the youngest was nine years old. Two students aged 12 and 13 from a junior high school in Taitung — where the train was headed — were also killed, according to the transport ministry.

“Everyone is concerned about the cause of the incident and I’ve asked prosecutors to clarify the situation… and the cause soon,” President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters as she visited the scene of the accident Monday.

A task force and forensic units will determine whether the derailment was “an accident or human error” prosecutor Chiang Jen-yu said as investigators combed through the wreckage for evidence.

Passengers who survived the accident recalled how the train had been shaking intensely during the journey and was going “very fast” before it derailed.

“The train stopped twice and we were told that there were problems that needed repair but the train restarted not long after,” one passenger who identified herself as Mrs Chiu told reporters.

“We felt that the speed was too fast, then there was a crashing sound and we flew off (from the seats),” she said, adding that many passengers were sleeping at the time.

An official from the Taiwan Railways Administration said the train driver had reported a pressure device used for braking had malfunctioned 30 minutes before the accident, but that it should not have caused the train to go too fast.

‘Rest in peace’ 

Officials said Monday that the search for victims had ended at the accident site in the northeastern county of Yilan and that no more passengers had been found in the carriages.

Local resident Huang Chang-han, 61, told AFP he had been at a nearby hillside temple with a group of people who had rushed to help.

“There was a big bang, and black smoke, the scene was horrible, beyond words,” he told AFP.

“We rushed to the scene to help carry the kids and elderly people. There was blood all over, everyone was busy helping people,” he said.

Cranes were brought in overnight to lift the Puyuma Express coaches away from the southbound track. All eight carriages derailed and five had flipped onto their side.

Crane operators told an AFP reporter at the scene that works had been hampered by wet ground due to recent rain, so stabilising platforms were being brought in for the cranes.

Train services have partially resumed, using the northbound track.

“At this difficult time let us all pray for the injured and hope the deceased can rest in peace,” said President Tsai.

She also thanked the international community, including the United States and the European Union for expressing condolences over the incident.

Video footage of the aftermath of the crash, broadcast on local Taiwan television, showed passengers smashing a window from inside and kicking it through to escape.

The crash was the worst rail accident in Taiwan since 1991 when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided in Miaoli in western Taiwan.

AFP

17 Dead In Taiwan Rail Accident – Authorities

 

At least 17 people have died after a train derailed and flipped over in Taiwan Sunday, authorities said.

The Taiwan Railways Administration confirmed the toll and said more than 70 people had also been injured in the accident in northeastern Yilan county.

At least five carriages had flipped over and were lying on their side, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

Images from the site showed the high-speed Puyuma Express train completely derailed and lying zig-zagged across the track.

Taiwan authorities said the accident had happened at 4:50 pm local time (0850 GMT) with no cause yet given.

The National Fire Agency said there had been 310 people on board the service en route to the southern city of Taitung.

US Approves Possible Sale Of Military Parts To Taiwan

Members of the U.S. military listen to President Donald Trump Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP
MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The US State Department is ready to sell a batch of military parts to Taiwan, officials said Monday, the same day President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs against Chinese imports took effect.

The $330 million contract would see the US ship standard spare parts for several aircraft including the F-16 fighter and the C-130 cargo plane, the State Department said in a statement.

Congress has 30 days to raise objections to the sale, though this is unlikely given the State Department has determined Taiwan continues to be “an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”

Washington remains Taipei’s most powerful unofficial ally and its main arms supplier despite switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.

China has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since the Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office two years ago, including staging a series of military exercises near the island.

Taiwan on Tuesday welcomed the US announcement, saying it would help the island strengthen its defence capabilities.

“As Taiwan faces gradually heightened threats, the US arm sales would… also boost Taiwan’s confidence in strengthening self-defence to help maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan’s presidential office said the island’s government would continue to increase its defence investment and “maintain close communication and cooperation” with the US on security issues.

Beijing, which sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, has been incensed by recent warming ties between Washington and Taipei, including the approval by the US State Department of a preliminary licence to sell submarine technology to the island.

The US recently sanctioned a Chinese military procurement organization, drawing a sharp protest from Beijing and a decision to postpone planned military talks.

Beijing and Washington are also at odds over China’s wooing of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.

Trump’s most recent tariffs against China cover another $200 billion of Chinese imports.

The move brings the number of Chinese goods hit by duties to more than $250 billion, roughly half of China’s US exports.

 

AFP

China, Burkina Faso Establish Ties Following Taiwan Snub

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) gestures beside Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry as they attend a signing ceremony establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries in Beijing on May 26, 2018. / AFP

 

China and Burkina Faso signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations on Saturday, days after the west African nation cut ties with Taiwan in yet another victory for Beijing in its campaign to isolate the island.

A communique on establishing relations was signed in Beijing by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Alpha Barry.

Burkina Faso broke off ties with Taiwan on Thursday, becoming the second country to do so within a month and leaving the democratically ruled island with only 18 diplomatic allies around the world.

Wang said in a speech after the signing that Burkina Faso acknowledged in the communique that “there is only one China in the world.”

“The Burkina Faso government is following the trend of the times and made the right political decision,” he said.

The move had been widely expected after Burkina Faso defected from Taiwan, which has steadily lost ground in a decades-long diplomatic tug-of-war with China in developing countries.

Taiwan can now claim only one ally in Africa, Swaziland.

“Now Africa has only one country with which we have not yet established (relations),” Wang said.

“We hope this country can join the big China-Africa family of friendship as soon as possible.”

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war won by the Chinese Communists. The two sides often use economic support and other aid as bargaining chips for diplomatic recognition.

Burkina Faso had terminated relations with Taipei first in 1973 but restored them in 1994.

China still considers Taiwan to be a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Relations between Taiwan and China have worsened since President Tsai Ing-wen took over in Taipei in 2016.

Beijing has raised the pressure on Tsai, whose government refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan — whose democratic freedoms stand in stark contrast to Communist-ruled China — is part of a “one China”.

Burkina Faso was the fourth country to cut ties with Taipei since Tsai took office two years ago.

Calling China “the world’s most important economy,” Barry said he expected Burkina Faso to benefit from the relationship.

Tsai has lashed out at China’s “crude behaviours” since Burkina Faso broke ties.

“China’s crude behaviours to undermine our sovereignty have already challenged the bottom line of Taiwan’s society. We will not tolerate it anymore,” she said.

She accused Beijing of using “dollar diplomacy” to lure away the island’s allies.

The Dominican Republic switched recognition to Beijing earlier in May, terminating a 77-year diplomatic relationship to recognise China.

The small African nation of Sao Tome switched recognition to Beijing in late 2016, followed by Panama in June last year.

Taiwan Foreign Minister Resigns After Burkina Faso Cuts Ties

 Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tendered his resignation after Burkina Faso announced it was breaking diplomatic ties with the island. SAM YEH / AFP

 

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu Thursday tendered his resignation after Burkina Faso announced it was breaking diplomatic ties with the island.

“As a government official, I must be responsible for policies, and I have verbally tendered my resignation to the president,” Wu told a press conference.

Wu added that Taipei was cutting relations with Burkina Faso “to safeguard our sovereignty and dignity” and halting bilateral aid and cooperation programmes.

Burkina Faso is the second country to dump Taiwan within weeks after the Dominican Republic switched recognition to Beijing earlier this month, leaving the island with only 18 diplomatic allies around the world.

It was not immediately clear if Burkina Faso and China would establish diplomatic relations but Wu said it would only be “sooner or later” and that “everyone knows China is the only factor”.

“Why China chose now to steal our ally, everyone can see although we couldn’t go into the WHA (World Health Assembly), but we are developing deeper relations with more and more like-minded countries. I believe China can see this,” he said.

Wu’s comments came after the landlocked west African state said earlier Thursday that it was breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

“The Burkina government decided today to break off its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan,” Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said, in an announcement that follows a string of similar moves by African states since 2000.

“Since 1994, Burkina Faso has had cooperation relations with Taiwan,” Barry said in a statement.

“But today, changes in the world, the current socio-economic challenges facing our country and our region call on us to reconsider our position.”

China still considers Taiwan to be a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary, even though they split in 1949 after a civil war.

The two have been engaged for years in a diplomatic tug-of-war in developing countries. Economic support and other aid are often used as bargaining chips for diplomatic recognition.

Relations between Taiwan and China have worsened since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016 as her government refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China.”

AFP

Taiwan Hits Back At WHO Exclusion Under Beijing Pressure

 

 

Taiwan accused the World Health Organization of succumbing to political pressure from Beijing Tuesday after the island failed to receive an invitation to a major international meeting.

China sees self-governing democratic Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification and has used its clout to diminish the island’s presence on the world stage since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took power in May 2016.

Last year was the first time in eight years that Taiwan was not granted access to the World Health Assembly (WHA) — the WHO’s main meeting.

This year’s WHA is to be held in Geneva from May 21-26 and the online registration deadline lapsed on Monday without Taipei receiving an invite.

The WHO confirmed on Tuesday it did not invite Taiwan this year, saying previous invitations were a special arrangement based on a “cross-strait understanding”.

It would facilitate Taiwan’s inclusion “if and when cross-strait understanding on WHA participation is restored,” it told AFP in a statement.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles official dealings with China, said as a non-political organisation “pursuing the highest health standards for humanity”, the WHO “should not solely serve Beijing’s political will”.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it “regretted” that it had not been invited to the WHA.

“Health is a basic human right, as well as a universal value regardless of differences in race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social situations,” it said in a statement.

It added that under the WHO charter, Taiwan should be allowed equal participation in all WHO events.

While the WHO said Taiwanese experts “regularly participate in relevant WHO technical meetings”, Taiwan said they were able to attend less than 30 percent.

– ‘One China’ –
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday that the island was only able to attend the WHA from 2009-2016 because the previous Taiwan government had a consensus with Beijing that there is only “one China”.

While the island’s former administration touted the agreement as enabling cross-strait relations to flourish without compromising Taiwan’s sovereignty, Beijing saw it as meaning Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single China.

President Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party have refused to acknowledge the principle, which Beijing sees as the bedrock for relations.

“Because the DPP refuses to recognise the … one China principle, thus undermining the political basis of Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, Taiwan cannot receive an invitation this year,” Geng told reporters.

When asked whether Beijing requested the WHO to exclude Taiwan, Geng did not confirm or deny but said it is “normal” for China to have regular communication with the WHO.

Meanwhile, Beijing has also been attempting to exert pressure on international companies to list Taiwan as a Chinese province on their websites, rather than as a separate entity.

The White House said on Saturday that China’s aviation authorities had sent letters to 36 foreign airlines including US firms demanding they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as Chinese territories.

“This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” it said.

Taiwan Rescue Workers Pull More Bodies From Quake Rubble

 

 

After hours of painstaking search efforts, Taiwanese rescue workers pulled two more bodies from the flattened remains of a hotel Friday, bringing the death toll from a deadly 6.4-magnitude quake to 12.

Scores of emergency responders combed the rubble of the lower floors of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartmentblock, which housed the Beauty Stay Hotel and had pancaked during the quake, leaving the building leaning at a 50-degree angle which complicated the rescue effort due to fears of an imminent collapse.

“The rescue mission was difficult as the space is narrow but rescuers continued to work hard and finally found the Canadian couple,” a government statement said.

“A doctor evaluated that there is no sign of life and their bodies have been sent to a funeral parlour,” it added.

The couple, who were Hong Kong-Canadian, were identified as Freda and Peter So.

The new discovery means that nine of the 12 people killed when the quake hit the eastern tourist city of Hualien Tuesday perished in the Yun Tsui building.

The remaining missing, a Chinese family of five, were also hotel guests there. They were sharing a room on the second floor of the building, officials said.

National Fire Agency search and rescue team leader Liang Kuo-wei told AFP it had taken 12 hours to break through to the second-floor hotel room where the Canadian couple were staying.

They had found their suitcase and “running shoes, sunglasses, and thermos,” he said, which had raised initial hopes that the couple would be found alive.

– Damaged buildings demolished –

The powerful tremor left a handful of buildings badly damaged — some tilting at precarious angles — as well as roads torn up.

Three of the partially collapsed buildings have been cleared of people and are now being demolished “in order to maintain safety for the public,” Hualien mayor Fu Kun-chi said, adding that authorities are probing possible construction irregularities.

The daughter of victim Chiang Chen-chang, who was employed at the Beauty Stay Hotel, said she saw her father’s name on the missing persons list during her shift working at the emergency operation centre.

“I had to keep composed so I could carry on my work. It was only when I was alone that the emotions came,” Hsu Pao-yu said as she struggled to hold back tears.

Hualien is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist destinations as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and near the popular Taroko Gorge.

But the mountains that rise up behind the city — and bestow Taiwan’s east coast with such majestic beauty — are a testament to the deadly tectonic faultlines that run through the island.

The government said 16 foreigners sought medical treatment for minor injuries.

The Hualien quake came exactly two years to the day after a similar sized tremor struck the western city of Tainan, killing 117 people — most in a single apartmentblock which collapsed.

Five people were later found guilty over the disaster, including the developer and two architects, for building an inadequate structure.

The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

That quake ushered in stricter building codes but many of Taiwan’s older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate quakes.

Toll In Taiwan Quake Rises To 14 As Rescuers Pull Out More Bodies

Japanese (L) and Taiwanese rescue workers (R) look at the Yun Tsui building (C), which is leaning at a precarious angle, in the Taiwanese city of Hualien on February 9, 2018, after the city was hit by a 6.4-magnitude quake late on February 6. PHOTO; Anthony WALLACE / AFP

 

The toll from a deadly 6.4-magnitude quake in Taiwan rose to 14 on Saturday as rescuers searching for a missing family of Chinese tourists discovered two more bodies in a partially toppled building.

Scores of rescuers combed the rubble at the foot of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartment block that was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake, complicating rescue efforts due to fears of an imminent collapse.

The two bodies and the last three missing are believed to be members of a family from Beijing who arrived in Taiwan Monday, authorities said.

They were staying in a second-floor room at a hotel in the building in the eastern city of Hualien when the quake hit the following night.

“(We) are digging from the fourth floor down and even though the site is leaning at 45 degrees we are making an all-out effort for the rescue,” the Hualien fire department said in a statement.

The first body pulled from the site was identified as a 12-year-old boy and the second an adult male, meaning 11 of the 14 people killed in the quake perished in the Yun Tsui building.

Rescuers also said a third body was recovered on Saturday afternoon but this has not yet been added to the official toll.

Three partially collapsed buildings in Hualien were being demolished from Friday for public safety, including the local landmark Marshal Hotel where one employee was killed.

Hualien, on Taiwan’s picturesque east coast, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, but the mountains that rise up behind the city are a testament to the deadly tectonic fault lines that run through the island.

The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

That quake ushered in stricter building codes but many of Taiwan’s older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate quakes.

AFP

Foreigners Killed In Mexico Quake From Taiwan, Korea, Spain

People remove debris of a building which collapsed after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017. Omar TORRES / AFP

The bodies of eight foreigners have been recovered from the rubble of the quake that struck Mexico City, officials said on Friday.

The remains were those of four Taiwanese women, a Korean man, a Spanish man, a Panamanian woman and an Argentine man, Mexico’s high court said in a statement citing information from the forensic institute.

The statement did not detail when the bodies were recovered, or from where.

They were among nearly 300 people killed by the powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake that parts of Mexico City and nearby regions on Tuesday.

In the capital, the quake toppled 39 buildings, mostly in a central area with older construction that is popular with tourists and foreigners living in the city, and also in the south.

The court statement said the bodies of the foreigners were pulled “from the rubble caused by the earthquake on Tuesday.”

It also said that no more bodies had been delivered to the morgue operated by the forensic institute for identification since Thursday.

All but one of the 65 corpses examined by the service have been handed over to next of kin, it said.

The remaining unidentified body was that of a woman pulled from a collapsed building in the chic neighbourhood of Condesa.

AFP