The recent concurrent military exercises launched by Taiwan, China, and the US have raised alarm over China's military buildup, offering a reminder that the Taiwan Strait remains one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints, experts said yesterday. \nAt a conference held by the Taiwan New Century Foundation in Taipei, scholars and experts discussed the shifting military balance across the strait and explored strategies to enhance the country's geopolitical value to the US in face of a growing threat from China. \n"The US' annual report on China's military clout issued in May made it clear that China is emerging as a regional hegemon. China's surging military power has significantly altered the strategic balance in Taiwan-US-China relations," said presidential advisor Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志). \nThe report from the US Defense Department indicated that China's annual defense spending is between US$50 billion and US$70 billion a year, giving it the world's third-largest military budget. \nExperts also turned the spotlight on China's eighth annual military drill around Dongshan Island. "The PLA's (People's Liberation Army) joint forces exercise rehearsed an invasion of Taiwan and [served as] a practice to capture air and sea dominance in the Strait. The exercise tells of China's readiness for a full-fledged war," said Wang Kung-yi (王崑義), a Tamkang University associate professor of international affairs and strategic studies. \nWang's observation is supported by the Chinese People's Daily. The state mouthpiece pointed out that the Dongshan exercise was conducted on the assumption that Taiwan proclaimed independence. In that case, the newspaper declared, the PLA would immediately take the Penghu Islands, forming a deterrent and an outpost position for racing to control Taiwan. \n"As before, the military maneuvers are to deter Taiwanese from moving toward indepen-dence," Wang said. \nOthers contended that the US' current global deployment of seven aircraft carriers for an exercise named Summer Pulse 2004 shows that the world's leading power is concerned with the strained cross-strait relations. They said the concurrent military display implies that the US is also eyeing its interests in the Asia-Pacific region. \n"After the power transfer in Iraq, anti-terrorism ceased to be the sole focus. The issue of security in the Asia-Pacific region has now returned to the US agenda. Taiwan's geopolitical importance is now on the rise," said Yan Jian-fa (顏建發), vice chair of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' research and planning committee. \nAccording to Yan, some unnamed US consultants took part in Taiwan's Han Kuang maneuvers in July, demonstrating high-level contacts between US and Taiwan military commanders. However, experts agreed that securing US support requires multilateral efforts in a wider regional context. \n"We must maximize our mutual interests with the US to win Washington's persistent support," said Chen Min-tong (陳明通), a former Mainland Affairs Council vice chairman. \nHe said that seeking greater overlapping of the two nations' respective national interests can entrench Taiwan's strategic position in the archipelagos arching alongside Russia and China. \nChen cited the much-discussed Nye Report, a blueprint for the Bush administration's East Asia policy, to emphasize the role Taiwan can play in an ocean-oriented framework of warfare. \nIn Chen's analysis, a fortified alliance with Japan will help include Taiwan in the East Asian safety network laid down by the US-Japan Defense Guidelines. \n"The China-Japan relationship is deteriorating. On the contrary, Taiwan is improving its ties with her neighbor country. We should seize the opportunity to nurture relations with Japan," Chen said. \nAnother strategy to promote Taiwan's security is to boost the island's military spending. Experts in the conference said that with more than 500 missiles pointed at Taiwan, it is not a choice but a necessity to step up defense. \n"We urge those who oppose the arms procurement to think twice before they jump to conclusions. Despite an absence of military conflict at the moment, we are already in a psychological war, cultural war, economic war with China," said Shu Chin-Chiang (蘇進強), secretary-general of the National Cultural Association.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease