Taiwan severs ties with Dominica
March 30, 2004: Taiwan breaks off diplomatic ties with the Commonwealth of Dominica as the latter switches recognition to China. During the two-decade period of ties, Taiwan sent technical missions to help the island nation with its agricultural and aquaculture industries.
People First Party is born
March 31, 2000: James Soong (宋楚瑜) establishes the People First Party (PFP, 親民黨) and becomes its chairman after his failed bid to become Taiwan’s president. In 1999, Soong left the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after losing the presidential nomination to then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and ran as an independent in the 2000 presidential elections.
In its early years, the PFP maintained a close but tense relationship with the KMT because the two parties competed for the same voters — with many Taiwan observers believing that Soong split pan-blue voters, thus handing Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) the 2000 election. However, the party’s influence shrank as its seats in the Legislative Yuan dwindled from 46 of 225 in 2001 to 3 out of 113 in 2012.
‘Mini three links’ extends to Penghu
March 31, 2007: The Mainland Affairs Council (大陸委員會) announces that residents of Taiwan’s outlying island of Penghu are allowed to cross the Taiwan Strait via Kinmen County or Matsu County starting the next day. Chinese tourists can visit Penghu using the same route. Cross-strait travel, known as the “small three links” (小三通), was established in January 2001. It opened the door for unrestricted travel between Kinmen, Matsu and Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province.
Taiwan’s first nuclear power plant beings operations
March 30, 1978: Taiwan’s first nuclear power plant, located in Shihmen District (石門), begins operation with a capacity of 636,000 kilowatts.
In July 2013, typhoon Soulik caused a trip in the generator and turbine of the power plant’s Unit 2, which was shut down for immediate repairs. In August, the power plant’s operator, state-run Taiwan Power Co, received a correction order from the Control Yuan because radioactive water was leaking from two spent fuel pools. In February of this year, news reports pointed to the possibility of the plant’s early shut down due to a lack of waste storage capacity. The plant is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2019.
Tourists killed in China
March 31, 1994: Twenty-four Taiwanese tourists and eight Chinese boat crew and guides are murdered during a robbery on a cruise of Qiandao Lake (千島湖) in China’s Zhejiang Province.
The Chinese government reportedly blocked information regarding its investigation, which triggered a public backlash in Taiwan. Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was president at the time, publicly called the Communist Party of China a bandit regime. Three suspects were found responsible for the crime and were sentenced to death.
Senior officers killed in military helicopter crash
April 3, 2007: An army UH-1H helicopter crashes during an air surveillance drill in a remote mountain region in what is today’s Greater Kaohsiung, killing all eight army officers onboard, most of them senior officers, including Brigade Chief Colonel Chen Min-tung (陳銘同).
Investigations later concluded human error to be the cause of the crash. The army later announced that chief officers and their deputies would no longer be allowed to travel in the same vehicle or aircraft at the same time.