UK closes consulate in Taipei
March 12, 1972: The British Consulate in Taipei closes after the UK and China upgrade relations to ambassadorial level. The UK switched recognition from the Republic of China (ROC) to China in 1950, but consular and trade-related activities continued. The UK establishes the Anglo-Taiwan Trade Committee in 1976 to maintain trade relations with the nation. The committee grew into the current British Trade and Cultural Office in 1993, handling affairs from investment to culture and education. The consulates’ former location in New Taipei City’s Tamsui area has become a popular tourist attraction.
Taiwan, US resume talks
March 10, 2013: Taiwan and the US resume talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA, 台美貿易暨投資架構協定) after a hiatus of nearly six years. First signed in 1994 to strengthen bilateral trade, TIFA had been suspended since 2007 due to disputes over imports of US beef. Taiwan eased the ban on beef imports containing ractopamine in July 2012, which is believed to have led the way to a resumption of talks. The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei announced on Wednesday that the next round of talks will begin in the spring.
Taiwan establishes Straits Exchange Foundation
March 9, 1991: The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海峽交流基金會) begins operation as a semi-official body under the Mainland Affairs Council to handle economic and technical matters between China and Taiwan. China responds with the establishment of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海峽兩岸關係協會) six months later.
The SEF-ARATS links have led to agreements on cross-strait affairs, such as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in June 2010, and the recently signed service trade agreement, which will open the service sector to further bilateral exchanges if ratified by the legislature.
Express train kills maintenance workers
March 10, 2006: Five railroad maintenance workers are hit and killed by a Hualien-bound express train. The workers had notified the station master about their repair work, but the station didn’t ask the incoming train to change tracks. The then-Taiwan Railway Administration chief Hsu Da-wen (徐達文) resigned over the deaths.
Bread maker wins international acclaim
March 10, 2010: Baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) wins the title of Master Baker in the bread category at the 2010 Bakery World Cup in Paris, France. His award-winning bread was made with millet wine, rose petals and dried lychees — ingredients that for Wu represent Taiwan. Wu’s story is later given cinematic treatment with 27°C — Loaf Rock (世界第一麥方), a movie released last year by director Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛), who was also once a baker.
Protesters rally to end nuclear power
March 9, 2013: Anti-nuclear protesters across Taiwan take to the streets to oppose the completion of the nation’s fourth nuclear power plant. Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, anti-nuclear groups have organized nationwide rallies around the incident’s anniversary on March 11. This year, anti-nuclear demonstrations took place on March 8 in Taipei, Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung and Taitung City.
WHO clears Taiwan’s status in H5N1 map
March 12, 2006: After mistakenly including Taiwan on a list of countries affected by the H5N1 avian flu strain, the WHO changes the color of Taiwan on its map from red, which suggests existing cases of human-contracted H5N1 virus, to white, meaning no such cases. The WHO classified the avian flu situation under “nation,” which put Taiwan along with China, where H5N1 bird flu had been detected in both animals and humans. The WHO made the clarification after Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry filed an official complaint.