Singapore's struggling economy is on the rebound and should grow by between 3 percent and 5 percent next year but the unemployment rate will get worse before improving, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday. \n"Barring any unexpected shocks, our very preliminary estimate is that in 2004 the economy should grow 3 to 5 percent," said Lee, who is also finance minister and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the central bank. \nLee cited an improving global economic outlook, especially in the US, as the main reason for his upbeat assessment. \nSingapore's economic fortunes are highly dependent on trade, making the city-state vulnerable to any deterioration in the global environment. \nLee said the economy would rebound in the third quarter of this year after a terrible second quarter in which it was buffeted by SARS. \n"The second quarter was bad but the third quarter will make up lost ground," Lee, said, adding the economy was "on track" to achieve the government's projected growth forecast of zero to 1 percent for this year. \nPrime Minister Goh Chok Tong, in Bali for the ASEAN summit, was even more optimistic in comments reported yesterday in which he said this year's economic growth could exceed the official target. \n"It's possible," the Business Times quoted Goh as telling reporters on Monday when asked if the economy could grow more than 1 percent this year. \nLee warned, however, that the improving economic situation would not lead to an immediate improvement in Singapore's unemployment rate, which is at near 20-year highs. \n"Growth will create new jobs and bring down unemployment but only after a lag," Lee, who was speaking to union delegates, said. \n"The unemployment rate will worsen before improving -- [it] was 4.5 percent in June; expect it to reach or exceed 5.5 percent by end of year."
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters