■ FruitTangerines sent to Brunei
Taichung County is preparing to sell 36,000kg of its famous Tungshih Township tangerines to Brunei. The Tungshih Farmer's Association has in recent years been helping farmers produce and export its superb agricultural products to try to upgrade their competitive edge. The association said that Tungshih's sweet and juicy tangerines were exported to Brunei last year on a trial basis, where they proved very popular. Exports this year will increase dramatically. A first batch of 20,000kg of tangerines was shipped yesterday, with a second batch of 16,000kg scheduled to go in January. The two batches combined are worth about NT$2 million (US$62,110).
Rand report `hypothetical'
A report by the Rand Corporation that outlines a war scenario across the Taiwan Strait in 2012 is hypothetical in nature and not a prediction, a senior policy analyst at the US think tank said Thursday. In the study titled Assuring Access in Key Strategic Regions: Toward a Long-term Strategy for the US Army, Rand posited a scenario in which China attempts a conquering strategy designed to seize part of Taiwan with ground forces in 2012 with the aim of pushing Taipei directly into a fast-track framework for unification talks. Eric Larson, one of the authors of the report, said the purpose of the study is to help the US Army better understand its regional military access in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Politician criticizes rivals
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yung-jen (邱永仁) said yesterday that what he described as the "irrational attitude" of the opposition parties to block a NT$610.8 billion (US$18.23 billion) special budget for arms purchases from the US has become a "landmine" in Taiwan's security. Chiu was responding to recent remarks by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage that Taiwan is "probably the biggest landmine" in China's relations with the US. He stressed that Armitage's remarks underscore Taiwan's need to buy advanced weaponry to defend itself. Taiwanese people have to realize that they cannot rely on others and have to beef up their defenses and have confidence in the country's ability to defend itself, he added.
Formosa Plastics Group and Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital chairman Wang Yung-ching (王永慶) yesterday presided over a ground-breaking ceremony for the Chang-Gung Medical Center building in Chiayi County. The building will comprise 13 stories above ground, two underground floors and will accommodate 1,500 beds, according to Wang Cheng-yi, superintendent of the Chiayi Branch of Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital. The project is estimated to cost NT$8 billion (US$240.96 million) and is scheduled for completion in March 2006, he said. Calling Chiayi his "second hometown," Wang Yung-ching said Chiayi is where he started his business career and that he hopes to do something meaningful to upgrade the standard of local medical services. In the company of Chiayi Magistrate Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), the tycoon later visited the designated site of a planned retirement community.