MND, PLA to meet
Representatives from the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Chinese military will meet this summer in Hawaii in their first formal exchange in six decades, a newspaper reported yesterday. The report said that the militaries would take part in a workshop on regional security and crisis management under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a think tank with links to the US Pacific Command. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry would not comment on the report. The Chinese-language United Daily News said other militaries would also participate in the workshop, but it did not say which.
Hundreds of pigs culled
Chiayi City has culled a total of 291 pigs after suspected cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) were detected two days ago, a Council of Agriculture official said on Sunday. Staff members from the council旧 Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine spotted several pigs showing symptoms of FMD on Friday during a routine inspection of the Chiayi meat market, the official said. The Chiayi City Government was immediately alerted. It tracked the source of the pigs to a farm in neighboring Chiayi County and prohibited movement of pigs from that farm, the official said. On Saturday, the official said the pigs showing FMD symptoms and other pigs kept in the same enclosure were culled, while the remaining pigs in the farm were vaccinated.
Retired officer accused
A retired officer with 20 years of military service has been accused of leaking documents about war plans and other military secrets to Beijing. The report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times� sister paper) said the officer, identified only by his surname Chang, took up residence in China after leaking secrets, including troop deployment plans to be used in the event of a war. It said Chang was afraid to return to Taiwan. A Ministry of National Defense official confirmed that Chang was under investigation but refused to elaborate.
Poultry farmers protest
More than 1,000 poultry farmers rallied in front of the Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday to protest against a planned ban on slaughtering birds in traditional markets. The protest prompted a COA official to say there would be no turning back in implementing the policy. Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青), deputy director-general of the COA旧 Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said that butchering poultry in certified slaughterhouses was a modern trend and added that the government would help domestic fowl farmers face the impact of the new measures once the ban is implemented on April 1 next year. Last March, the Executive Yuan passed a resolution prohibiting the old practice and decided to start the ban after two years. The announcement triggered protests by poultry farmers concerned that their livelihoods would be affected because the new law would require them to have their birds butchered at certified facilities. To minimize the impact on small poultry businesses, the COA has prepared a variety of measures, including low-interest loans to help businesses establish integrated production lines from breeding to final sale, the council said.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37
ARMS RACE: Two DPP lawmakers said that China’s development model differed from Taiwan’s, as it aims to become a global hegemon, while Taiwan seeks to protect itself Taiwanese national defense experts are split on how Taiwan should respond to the ever-growing budget of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with some advocating for Taiwan to increase defense spending, while others say that little can be done. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with last year, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan. Regardless of whether the government adopts a zero-based budgeting method for national defense spending — in which all expenses are justified and approved each