Taiwan's long-term credit was given an "A+" rating by Fitch Inc, which said the nation's high foreign reserves and low debt shield it from a potential cash shortage even as growth stalls. \nThe rating agency, which began coverage of Taiwan's sovereign debt today, gave the nation its fifth-highest rating, putting it on par with Kuwait. \nFitch said the outlook for the rating is "stable" as US$116 billion in reserves and foreign debt worth just 9 percent of GDP minimize the risk of a default. \nStill, Taiwan's economy fell into recession in the third quarter, shrinking 4.2 percent from a year earlier, as exports tumbled. That has "exposed domestic weaknesses that constrain the island's creditworthiness," Fitch said. \nStalled world growth and shrinking demand for computers have slashed orders for Taiwan-made chips and other goods, causing exports -- which make up about half the economy -- to fall 29 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier. Domestic spending and investment aren't pulling their weight. \nNon-performing loans could rise to as high as 15 percent of the total by the end of this year from about 11 percent at the end of September, Fitch said, making banks reluctant to lend and delaying an economic rebound. \nEleven interest-rate cuts since last December haven't been enough to get companies spending -- corporate investment tumbled 36.8 percent in the third quarter, the government said last week. In July, Standard & Poor's cut Taiwan's long-term credit rating one notch to "AA." \nFitch's "A+" rating on Taiwan's long-term foreign-currency debt is higher than the agency's ratings for South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations