The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-controlled legislature yesterday blocked eight of the 11 proposals put forth by opposition parties to prevent or control imports of pork containing ractopamine residues from being placed on the legislative agenda. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus presented four proposals, including a call to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to attend a legislative question-and-answer session and to issue a public apology for easing the ban on meat containing the leanness-enhancing additive effective Jan. 1. It also proposed that meat containing ractopamine or additives that enhance leanness be banned from daycare centers and kindergartens up to middle schools, and that the government submit proposed regulatory changes detailing penalties or fines for offenders and other measures within one month. It further proposed that the government should commission another research report assessing the safety or risks of consuming meat with ractopamine, and continue to ban the imports of such meat until the report is completed. All of the KMT’s proposals, except for the research report, were placed on the legislative agenda. The Taiwan People’s Party also called for another risk assessment, to be conducted by the Executive Yuan, on Taiwanese consumption habits to serve as the base for establishing safety standards on permissible limits on residues of ractopamine and other leanness-enhancing additives for pork. It also proposed that such pork imports should have their own commodity classification code. The TPP also petitioned that a video recording of a closed-door meeting by the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee with food safety experts and the Ministry of Health and Welfare be made available. Meanwhile, the New Power Party (NPP) proposed that the Ministry of Health and Welfare should forward its risk assessment reports to the ministry’s Food Safety Risk Assessment Advisory Committee to determine whether the conclusions are based on scientific facts. Preventive measures should be mulled,
The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a special budget of NT$209.95 billion (US$7.26 billion) largely to continue economic relief measures to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. Of the approved budget, which is to be financed through the issuance of debt, NT$172 billion would go to economic stimulus and support programs. A total of NT$137.54 billion of the new funding would be allocated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs to ease a shortfall in providing loan subsidies and assistance to enterprises hit hard by the pandemic and cover gaps in funding for a consumer voucher program. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is to receive NT$37.36 billion for its social welfare programs, including disease prevention, while other ministries are to get funding for their relief subsidy programs. It is the second time this year since the outbreak of COVID-19 that the government has expanded funding for affected businesses and industries and for epidemic control and prevention measures. In February, the Cabinet introduced the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例) to cope with the impact of the outbreak on people’s health and economic activity. That was backed by a NT$60 billion special budget for relief and stimulus measures after the legislature passed the new act on Feb. 25. As the pandemic spread and dealt a severe blow to the global economy, the legislature in April passed an amendment to the special act to allow the government to earmark a special budget of up to NT$210 billion for relief and stimulus funding, with the option to double that if necessary. On April 23, the Cabinet presented a debt-financed NT$150 billion budget to increase the special relief fund to NT$210 billion, based on the revised act. It was passed by the legislature on May 8.
RETROCESSION: Johnny Chiang urged Beijing to cease its verbal or military threats, and said that the ROC’s continued existence is the key to countering independence
The two sides of the Taiwan Strait share the same roots in Chinese culture and have no reason for confrontation, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday, but added that they would be driven further apart if one side continued to play the aggressor. Chiang made the remarks at a meeting with Taiwanese expats in Taipei, part of the party’s series of activities marking the 75th anniversary of Taiwan’s Retrocession Day tomorrow. Yesterday’s commemoration was attended by KMT members, as well as nearly 80 Taiwanese expats returning from the US and Southeast Asian countries. In his speech, Chiang said that Oct. 25 was a critical turning point for all Chinese, who in 1945 finally overcame the national disgrace that started with the Opium War in the 1840s, and witnessed the nation’s regeneration. Taiwanese expats have been the strongest support for the Republic of China (ROC) throughout the years, and have personally taken part in the national revival, he said. He thanked them for lending their robust support to the ROC during the war with Japan from 1937 to 1945, which mainly took place on the Chinese mainland. They also played an important role in assisting with the nation’s economic development after the ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949, while their investments proved instrumental in fostering the nation’s economic growth, he said. Taiwan’s liberation from Japanese colonization and return to the ROC’s embrace was the hope of most Taiwanese, a history that embodies the inseparable cord connecting the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, Chiang said. Despite having different political systems, the two sides are nourished by the same Chinese culture and share the same language, Mandarin, he said. There is no reason for the two sides of the Strait to confront or hate each other, as their fates are interconnected, he added. Having gone through stratocracy,
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday launched the Republic of China-Switzerland Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association at an event at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. The association would promote bilateral trade and bolster cooperation between the two nations through cultural, academic, scientific and other exchanges, said Legislator Chang Yu-mei (張育美), who heads the association. “Taiwan and Switzerland have many similarities: Both have hard-working people who have created a democratic society, and both have many world-famous industries,” Chang said. Switzerland is known for its banking and financial sector, luxury watches, precision machinery, pharmaceuticals, biomedical advances and food industry, she said. Trade Office of Swiss Industries Director Reto Renggli had other commitments and was not able to attend the event, but he visited the legislature on Thursday and fully supports the initiative, Chang said, adding that he discussed ways to promote bilateral trade and cultural exchanges. Members of the Suisse-Taiwan Friendship Group, including Swiss national councilors Roland Buchel, Andreas Glarner and Fabian Molina sent video greetings and messages of support. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang (田中光) said that Taiwan and Switzerland are democratic countries that “are small and beautiful, and have many shared values while holding substantial soft power.” “Both have good development and innovation in precision machinery, computer systems and other high-end technologies, so it is a natural partnership between our two countries,” Tien said. Ministry of Economic Affairs data showed that 348 Swiss firms had invested a combined US$953 million in Taiwan as of the first half of last year, the fifth-largest amount among European nations and 16th worldwide. Twenty-five Taiwanese firms invested a combined US$157 million in Switzerland last year, including Evergreen, Asustek, Acer, Delta Electronics, and those in the precision machinery, machine tool and biomedical sectors.
A proposed arms package sale approved by the US Department of State on Wednesday would help Taiwan improve its long-range counterstrike capability in the event of an attack, security analysts said on Thursday. If approved by the US Congress, the package — which has 135 AGM-84H SLAM-ER, 11 HIMARS M142 launchers and six MS-110 Recce Pods — would also represent a milestone in US-Taiwan military cooperation, the analysts said. “To date, the US has only sold passive defense systems to Taiwan, but this time, the package includes air-to-ground long-range weapons,” said Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), an associate research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research. Previously, such weapons could not be sold to Taiwan as they defined as defensive arms, he said, citing as an example the SLAM-ER, or standoff land- attack missile expanded-response, which is a precision-guided air-launched cruise missile with an operational range of 270km. The HIMARS, or high-mobility artillery rocket system, which is difficult for enemy forces to locate because of its mobility, has the capability to launch a second strike and is viewed as a key deterrent to any enemy attack, Su said. Wednesday’s announcement was made by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which said that it had officially notified Congress that the state department had approved a US$1.81 billion package of three weapons systems. The proposal requires the approval of Congress before the US can proceed with the sale. National Policy Foundation research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said that the new weapons systems would increase Taiwan’s firepower at enemy debarking areas. While the arms deal signals closer Taiwan-US military cooperation, it is also indicative of US efforts to implement its Indo-Pacific strategy, he said. “The US wants to quell China’s military expansion,” he said. “One of the ways of achieving that without burdening itself is to help countries adjacent to China
SINFONG SAGA: Hua Sheng Engineering Construction and TRA personnel posted bail amid an investigation into alleged collusion over a public tender in Hsinchu County
Four people were released on bail yesterday amid a probe into alleged corruption over a NT$110 million (US$3.8 million) contract for work at a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) station in Hsinchu County. Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office officials said that 15 locations in Taipei, Hsinchu and Taoyuan were searched on Thursday and 15 people have been questioned in connection with the case. The investigation was launched into the tender process for a contract to the reconstruction of the station in Sinfong Township (新豐), which was awarded to Kaohsiung-based Hua Sheng Engineering Construction Co. Hua Sheng owner Su Cheng-ta (蘇成達), TRA Department of Electrical Engineering head Chou Tsu-te (周祖德), TRA Taipei maintenance section chief Lin Chao-cheng (林昭正) and TRA project inspector Lu Hsing-hung (盧星宏) face charges of forgery and other breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), prosecutors said. The four men were released after posting bail of NT$300,000 each. The three TRA officials are accused of colluding with Su to falsify budget documents after the project was awarded to Taoyuan-based Kuo Kung Construction Co for NT$110 million. Work began in April 2008 to reconstruct parts of the railway station and add new facilities, prosecutors said. Chou and Lin colluded to hand the project over to Hua Sheng, citing delays and other issues that resulted in the agreement with Kuo Kung being terminated in October 2008, prosecutors said. The two men reopened the public tender, which was won by Hua Sheng at a reduced bid of NT$100 million, prosecutors said. Chou and Lin allegedly colluded with Lu to produce falsified records, which led to Hua Sheng securing the contract, prosecutors said, adding that the case involves about NT$5 million in illegal profit. Kuo Kung was riled by the termination of its work agreement and filed a lawsuit against the TRA to secure a refund and compensation on top. The High Court ruled in the
DANGEROUS AREA: People should leave Shou Island, a sandbar, two hours before high tide, as it sometimes submerges completely, a local said
Visitors to Chiayi County’s Baishuei Lake (白水湖) and Shou Island (壽島) must pay careful attention to tidal charts to avoid being trapped by rising water, locals said yesterday. The area in Dongshi Township (東石) has become popular after My Missing Valentins (消失的情人節), a local comedy, was released in cinemas on Sept. 28. The film features scenes shot in the area, while a squat toilet — which was left out in the open embedded in a concrete slab on the water’s edge after a lodge was torn down due to land subsidence — has become a spot from where people watch the sunset. However, Shou Island — a sandbar that along with narrow roads and sea walls help define Baishuei Lake, which is otherwise part of the sea — is inundated as early as two hours prior to high ride, fishers familiar with the area said. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said that following complaints by visitors to the area, he would invite transportation, tourism and water resource agencies to conduct a survey next week. He said that signs should be put up to notify people of tide times. Discussions about whether pavilions and mobile restrooms would also enhance the tourism experience would also be conducted, Tsai said. People have dubbed the area “Moses Parts the Sea” (摩西分海), as roads there have been affected by land subsidence and are often drowned by high tides, which sometimes reach halfway up dilapidated houses on the shoreline. On Wednesday, high tide was at about 2pm, with the sandbar divided into two by the water, the local fishers said. Sometimes the tide leaves no sand visible at all, the fishers added. As tide times vary from day to day, people should seek accurate data before making a trip to the area, said a fisher, who declined to be named. People should depart the sandbar
The sudden onset of visual hallucinations following a change in habits might be indicative of an alcohol addiction, a Hualien physician said, after treating a man in his 50s diagnosed with the condition. The man, surnamed Huang (黃), went to Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital after experiencing hallucinations while recovering from the flu, psychiatrist Shen Yu-chih (沈裕智) said. After speaking with Huang and running various tests, doctors determined that Huang had experienced the effects of alcohol withdrawal, which had manifested as hallucinations when he stopped drinking while taking flu medication. Huang often used rice wine in his cooking and over time had started drinking wine with his meals, eventually leading to an addiction, Shen said. Huang’s family were concerned that he had a mental illness when he began having hallucinations, but mental illnesses generally do not develop so rapidly, Shen said, adding that most people with mental conditions who hallucinate have auditory hallucinations, rather than experiencing changes of vision. Alcohol acts as a depressant in the central nervous system and might slow the brain’s communication with the rest of the body, Shen said, adding that if people who habitually drink alcohol suddenly stop, their nervous system might experience a rebound effect. “Basically, there are withdrawal symptoms. The whole brain becomes excited with activity and there is the possibility of hallucinations,” Shen said. Modern treatments for addiction can include psychotherapy and medication, he said. Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital uses three types of medication for alcoholism, including one that neutralizes the effects of alcohol so that it has as much as an effect on the patient as water, Shen said. The second type makes the patient feel nauseated at the scent of alcohol, while the third neutralizes alcohol’s effects on the central ner-vous system, he added. However, medication can only be part of an overall treatment program for addiction patients, Shen said. People with
More than 400 cyclists from 22 countries yesterday competed in this year’s King of the Mountain (KOM) Challenge race despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Danish cyclist John Ebsen, who has won the race three times, claimed another win in the men’s division, while Kuo Chia-chi (郭家齊) won the women’s division. The number of competitors dropped from 730 last year to 425 this year, the Tourism Bureau said, adding that 103 of this year’s participants were foreigners living in Taiwan. The bureau also reduced the top prize for the winners from NT$1 million (US$34,582) to NT$100,000 due to adjustments of budget priorities, Lin said. The race, which is in its ninth year, has become an internationally well-known cycling competition, bureau deputy director-general Trust Lin (林信任) said, adding that it had in the past drawn many professional cyclists from Europe to compete. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many of the international cycling races have either been canceled or postponed, and travel restrictions led to many professional cyclists not participating in the event, Lin said. Despite the decreases in participants and prize money, Lin said that the bureau had decided that the race should be held as scheduled, as it is part of a long-running campaign to draw international tourists. “As the bureau is promoting next year as the ‘Year of Cycling Tourism,’ we are preparing a series of events, including a virtual KOM Challenge race. Cyclists who are unable to come to Taiwan can experience what it is like to be in the race through virtual reality technology,” he said. French magazine Le Cycle rated the 105km race as one of the world’s toughest races, as the cyclists climb to up to 3,275m above sea level. The most challenging part of the race is the final ascent of about 10km, where the road has a slope of 17 to 27
Democratic Progressive Party New Taipei City councilors Lee Chien-ping (李倩萍) and Chung Hung-jen (鍾宏仁) during a city council meeting on Tuesday said that many of the murals that can be found throughout the city have lost their purpose and should be re-examined. The murals — which are often commissioned by borough wardens — sometimes add a special charm to the area, but as they have stopped being thematic, some residents have complained that the pictures seem out of place, the councilors said. New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) echoed the sentiment, saying that murals must have a purpose and should highlight the surrounding communities’ characteristics. The city government would re-examine its policy on the murals, he said. Chung — who said he had an assistant take photographs of the city’s nicer murals — said that some of the works added special charm to the city, but cited residents as saying that the murals in their area were “arbitrary paintings of cartoon figures.” “Of course, wardens can do it their way, but when the city is issuing contracts and supplying materials, it should also have some checks and balances in place,” he said. The city should give some input about where a mural is to be placed and what it should depict, he said. “Whether something looks nice is subjective, but whether it is appropriate should be discussed,” Lee said. When murals were first being painted in the city, they were intended to reflect the history of the surrounding communities, she said. However, many murals look random and arbitrary, despite the city putting aside a large annual budget for the purpose, she said. Lee suggested that under the city’s supervision the murals could be painted by art school students, or used as a space for the communities’ children to express themselves.
An environmental educator and researcher on Monday said that he believes he found a species of invasive semi-slug that was thought to have disappeared from Taiwan, potentially posing a threat to certain crops. Watson Crick’s Scientific Lab founder Hua Shun-fa (華順發) and a group of elementary and middle-school students earlier this month found four of the semi-slugs while conducting a research lesson on Taoyuan’s Hutoushan (虎頭山), he said. He sent a specimen to the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute in Nantou County’s Jiji Township (集集) for DNA testing to confirm whether it was Parmarion martensi, a type of semi-slug that is particularly harmful to papaya, wasabi and other crops. Upon preliminary inspection, institute specialist Tsai Chi-li (蔡奇立) said that they believe it is an invasive species of Macrochlamys land snail, but as the creature’s shell was crushed during transport, they could not remove any samples and needed to wait to conduct tests. There are more than 300 species of snail in Taiwan, 70 percent of which are endemic, Tsai said, adding that most live in mountainous areas and are seldom seen by people. Most invasive snails are brought by flora imported for gardening, but are usually stymied by the required pesticide treatment for imported plants, he said. The Taoyuan Department of Agriculture said that it had not heard of any P martensi sightings before now. Regardless, papaya is not one of the city’s main agricultural products and wasabi is no longer cultivated there, it said, adding that it would nevertheless continue to monitor the situation and gather a team of experts to respond if necessary. Most people are aware that creatures with shells are called snails and those without are slugs, but semi-slugs are evolutionarily in between, with shells that have nearly disappeared, but are not quite vestigial, Hua said. In Taiwan, they fall under the snail category, but
Following the rapid growth of the green iguana population in Pingtung County, more than 5,000 of them were captured during the first nine months of this year, a local official said yesterday. From January to last month, 5,480 green iguanas were captured, more than the 4,182 captured in all of last year, Pingtung Department of Agriculture Director Cheng Yung-yu (鄭永裕) said. The green iguana, also known as the American iguana, has no natural predators in Taiwan and has caused extensive damage to agricultural crops, irrigation channels and ecosystems in the nation. One of the first campaigns to address the problem was launched by New Taipei City in 2013. The number of green iguanas captured in Pingtung is the highest in Taiwan due to the county’s campaign to curb the reptiles, Cheng said, adding that it is difficult to estimate the real size of the green iguana population. The department said that local residents should call 1999 when seeing green iguanas, and trained personnel would be dispatched to capture them. Those whose reports result in the capture of an iguana of more than 20cm in length would be rewarded with local produce, such as red beans, it added. People should be careful if they try to capture an iguana, the department said, adding that they should make sure to not get bitten or hit by the reptile’s tail. The department also reminded people of a Council of Agriculture regulation that requires owners of green iguanas, which are listed as “exotic wildlife dangerous to the environment, people or animals” to register with the local authorities and obtain a permit before Nov. 30. This rule was stipulated because pet owners releasing their iguanas into the wild are believed to be responsible for the spike in the
MULTI-SPORTS EVENT: About 15,000 athletes from 110 countries are expected to take part in the competitions to be held in May 2025, a New Taipei City official said
Taipei and New Taipei City were on Wednesday chosen to jointly host the 2025 World Masters Games, defeating bids by Paris and Perth, Australia, to host the multi-sports event aimed at athletes of all abilities mostly over the age of 35. The Games are held every four years, with the next edition to be hosted in Japan’s Kansai region. Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said that the board of the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) communicated its decision via video conference. “We have in the past few years pursued opportunities to host international sports events and last year submitted our bid to host the World Masters. Taipei and New Taipei City have many venues to host the event,” Tsai said, adding that he also spoke on behalf of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜). Tsai said that the key to the winning bid was Taiwan successfully containing its outbreak of COVID-19. IMGA president Kai Holm on Wednesday last week met with the cities’ mayors, who assured him that they were determined to host the Games, Tsai said, adding that Holm’s visit made Taiwan stand out from its competitors. “We also showed the committee that we have experience after hosting the 2017 Summer Universiade. I believe that this also assured Holm that we are capable of hosting another large sports event,” he added. The event is to be held from May 17 to 30, 2025, Tsai said, adding that some competitions would also be held in Taoyuan, and Hsinchu and Yilan counties. Tsai said that 70 venues were chosen to host the competitions in 32 sports and 14 others as training facilities for athletes. Of these 84 venues, 29 were also used in 2017, he added. A total of 210 people in the host cities would be employed
‘COMMON PHENOMNENON’: More students say they have been actively or passively involved, and a majority would try to solve problems on their own, a survey found
Nearly half of the nation’s students say that they have been involved in cases of cyberbullying — nearly twice the rate in 2016, a Child Welfare League Foundation survey released yesterday showed. The Ministry of Education in July amended the Regulations Governing the Prevention and Control of Bullying on Campuses (校園霸凌防制準則) to include online harassment, the foundation said, adding that the move indicates that cyberbullying has become a common phenomenon on school campuses. In a survey on cyberbullying among students, the foundation found that 10.7 percent of respondents said that they had engaged in the cyberbullying and 18.1 percent said they had been victims thereof, while 18.2 percent said they had both bullied and been bullied. However, a majority of students (53 percent) said that they had never been involved, the foundation said. A total of 59.2 percent of respondents said that they were worried about being bullied or attacked on the Internet, it said. A similar survey four years ago showed that just 22.2 percent of students reported having been involved in cyberbullying, foundation chief executive officer Pai Li-fang (白麗芳) told reporters in Taipei. This year’s survey found that 21.3 percent of students said that “cyberbullying is just a part of growing up.” Among the respondents who said they had been victims of cyberbullying, the most common form reported was “being attacked, mocked or bullied while playing smartphone or computer games,” at 94.4 percent, the survey showed. This was followed by 61 percent who said that their private information was “shared publicly by others without their consent,” and 49.9 percent who said that they “received malicious, hostile or offensive private messages,” it showed. The most common impact cyberbullying had on students was “feeling depressed” (31.2 percent). Twenty-four percent of students said they felt “anxious or nervous about interpersonal interactions,” and 12.4 percent said they had sleeping problems due to
Advocacy group Cyber Angel’s Pick (CAP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) yesterday called for greater awareness of Internet safety among students at a news conference to release a survey on data privacy and Internet usage trends among students in elementary, junior-high and high schools, and universities across the nation. The survey among students who live stream in their free time found that 63.5 percent of respondents said that “any information on the Internet can be copied and used at will without indicating the source.” It also showed that 75.1 percent of the students said that “the Internet is very important to my life.” In the survey, 81.2 percent of livestreamers said that “it is wrong to spread false rumors on the Internet.” “I do not like chatting with people on the Internet who I do not know in person,” 67.3 percent of respondents said, while 54.8 percent said that they had “Internet friends” who they have never met or whose identities they do not know. A total of 77.6 percent of respondents said that they “pay special attention” to what is said in chat rooms, but about 65 percent of respondents said they are “deliberate” in revealing information about themselves online. A total of 77.2 percent of respondents said that they use the Internet every day, it showed. Internet users and live streamers across all age groups should be aware of the risks, Chu told reporters in Taipei. Live streaming is part of many people’s lives, he said, adding that it is not only a platform for social networking and communication, but is also seen as a career option. Many students are “heavy Internet users,” he said, urging schools to include information on the risks of Internet use and livestreaming. The results of the survey suggest that students who host livestreams might lack knowledge and
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new imported cases of COVID-19, two of them arriving in Taiwan from Indonesia and one each from the Philippines and Turkey, bringing the total number in Taiwan to 548. The four cases are a Taiwanese man and three foreign women, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a news briefing in Taipei. One is an Indonesian woman in her 30s who tested negative for COVID-19 three days before she arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday last week for work, he said. The woman showed no symptoms on arrival, but on Saturday last week reported dizziness, loss of appetite, vomiting and exhaustion while she was in quarantine, he said. Health authorities on Tuesday arranged for her to be tested for COVID-19, with a positive result returned yesterday, he said. The woman had no contact with others because she was in a designated quarantine center two days before she developed symptoms and was hospitalized after testing positive, Chuang said. Another case is a Taiwanese man in his 30s who went to the Philippines to work in December last year and from Tuesday to Saturday last week experienced joint pains, a cough and loss of smell, but did not seek medical attention, Chuang said. He flew to Taiwan on Tuesday and was tested after reporting his symptoms to health officials, Chuang said, adding that a positive result was returned yesterday. Seven people who sat near the man on the flight to Taiwan have been contacted and asked to remain in home isolation, Chuang said. The third case is an Indonesian woman in her 30s who entered Taiwan on Oct. 8 for work and had no symptoms on arrival, but was tested the day before her 14-day quarantine was to end, in line with regulations for arrivals from her country, Chuang said. The other case was a
BUDGET: Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei said that maintenance costs for jets as a result of increased Chinese incursions have risen by NT$470m from all of last year
The ratio of Republic of China Air Force planes scrambled is 2.13 for each Chinese jet that has entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone this year, Deputy Minister of National Defense Chang Che-ping (張哲平) said yesterday, as lawmakers raised concerns about increased fuel and maintenance costs amid Beijing’s belligerence. Chang stood in for Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) after Yen presented a report on improving the nation’s reserve forces and left the legislature at noon for a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). There have been 22 instances of Chinese jets entering Taiwan’s zone since Sept. 16, Chang said, citing a counter on the ministry’s Web site. As of Oct. 7 there had been 1,624 sorties this year by Taiwanese jets, with increased by 2,972 to reach 4,596 as of Wednesday, he said. Air Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) said that maintenance costs for jets as a result of increased Chinese incursions have risen by NT$470 million (US$16.26 million) compared with all of last year. Maintenance costs for this year would rise to NT$630 million if the rate of Chinese incursions continues, he said. When asked whether Chinese activity might increase after the US presidential election on Nov. 3, Chang said that the ministry expects the current rate of incursions and exercises in China’s southwestern airspace, as well as in other areas, to become the norm. The ministry would use the data it collects this year to revise future budgets, he said. Deputy Chief of the Logistics Staff Lieutenant General Chiang Cheng-kuo (蔣正國) said that a rough estimate of the maintenance budget showed an increase of NT$2 billion from last year, while fuel costs are expected to increase by NT$1 billion. Separately, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Chiu Shu-hua (邱樹華) told a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee that
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday wished a Taiwanese official in Fiji a safe recovery from injuries he sustained during an altercation with Chinese diplomats on Oct. 8. “We wish our Taiwanese friend a healthy, safe recovery. This isn’t, unfortunately, the first time we’ve heard allegations of Chinese diplomats behaving inappropriately,” Pompeo told a news briefing. Describing the incident, which took place at an event celebrating Double Ten National Day in Suva, Pompeo said that “Chinese diplomats appeared uninvited at an event organized by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji.” “They started taking pictures of guests, were asked to stop and then got into a fight, a brawl, resulting in one of the Taipei Trade Office staffers suffering a head injury,” he said. Pompeo’s account is consistent with what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. However, China’s embassy in Fiji has alleged that it was the Taiwanese staffer who injured a Chinese diplomat. Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Tuesday said that the Taiwanese sustained a minor concussion after being pushed by Chinese diplomats and required hospital care. Evidence related to the incident has been submitted to the Fijian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police, while the Taiwanese ministry has prepared other documents for further action if needed, Ou said.
British Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands yesterday wrapped up a two-day virtual visit to Taiwan, during which he presided over the two nations’ 23rd annual trade dialogue and the signing of cooperation agreements in education and semiconductor technology. What was originally meant to be an in-person visit migrated online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although Hands said he “looks forward to being in Taiwan again in the near future.” The main purpose of the visit was yesterday’s formal dialogue, which Hands presided over with Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺). The talks aimed to improve bilateral trade and investment ties by focusing on market access for the pharmaceutical, offshore wind, financial service, agriculture and whiskey industries, the British Office Taipei said. In many fields, such as offshore wind power and financial services, Taiwan provides enormous opportunities for British firms to provide products, services and expertise, Hands said. The two sides made progress in opening market access for British mutton, and removing trade obstacles for the pharmaceutical and financial service industries, the office said. Last year, trade between Taiwan and the UK was worth ￡7.1 billion (US$9.3 billion), an increase of nearly 30 percent from three years earlier, the office said. Taiwan invested ￡64.2 million in the UK last year to become the nation’s most popular investment destination in Europe, it said. On Wednesday, Hands witnessed the signing of a Letter of Intent on cooperation over English-language education, saying that he was pleased the UK would be offering assistance to Taiwan as it aims to become a bilingual country by 2030. “Two of my great passions are Taiwan and bilingualism,” Hands wrote on Twitter. “Combining the two is even better!” Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) told the dialogue that education links between Taiwan and England have been growing rapidly, and the two sides have signed
MIXED OPINIONS: The director of its secretariat office said ‘deliberative democracy’ would be the best approach for a name-change process
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) yesterday reiterated her call for Academia Sinica to change its name in English and other languages to avoid being confused with the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences. Speaking at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Fan said that in March she asked the Taipei institute, which has used Academia Sinica as its English name since 1928, to submit a report on the issue within three months. Many foreigners mistake the institution for the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, given that “Sinica” means “Chinese” in Latin, she said. Fan said that the institute should establish a dedicated committee within one month to collect opinions from Academia Sinica members and initiate a democratic process to discuss whether its English name should be changed. If there is to be a name change, the committee should hold discussions about what the new name should be and whether a change would affect the reputation of research conducted there, she said. Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) said that administrative units have held extensive discussions about the matter, but opinions have been mixed. The institution has plans for focused interviews to gauge members’ opinions and is almost ready to start, Liao said. When evaluating whether the name should be changed, deliberative democracy would be the best approach, Academia Sinica Secretariat Office director Tseng Kuo-hsiang (曾國祥) said, adding that “deliberative democracy” can take many forms, with a consensus conference being one. “We are leaning more toward deliberative polling,” Tseng said, adding that group discussions and expert consultations would be introduced to weigh in on the matter in a more comprehensive manner.