Now that the presidential and legislative elections are over, a new administration and a new legislative body are expected.
However, the new governing bodies are set to face stiff challenges from all fronts. Bringing the nation out of the economic doldrums that have lasted more than a decade is perhaps the most daunting task. The nation’s technology needs a makeover.
In the course of her election campaign, president-elect Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) delivered a five-prong policy: Internet of Things, green energy, biomedicine, precision mechanism and domestic defense technology.
A program encompassing all five should be considered. For example, the nation should consider building, in collaboration with the International Space Station’s (ISS) existing member nations, a small-scale Taiwanese space module for the ISS.
Building a space module, led by the government and with the support of the public sector, industrial sectors and educational institutes, would rejuvenate society and revitalize economic activity.
While the existing National Space Program Office and the Advanced Rocket Research Center in Hsinchu, headed by Wu Tsung-hsin (吳宗信), a professor of mechanical engineering at National Chiao-tung University, are small in scale and primitive in scope, they serve as a start point.
A space module program could develop the following: Sensor technology; advanced material; remote sensing/imaging; telemetry; wireless high-speed communication across wider spectrums including radio frequency and optical; agile complex control; power processing techniques; micro electro-mechanical structures; biological and medical instruments; and large-scale system modeling and simulation.
The goal of the program would be to deliver a space module equipped with advanced research apparatus and prototyping machinery.
The program might take eight to 10 years to complete. If carried through, it would fundamentally change Taiwan’s economic structure. It would also move, critically, the existing business away from foundries with low profit margins. More importantly, it would release the creative power of Taiwanese and in the process generate new job opportunities with high pay.
The program should plan to build two modules: a non-deliverable, engineering development model that could be used for educational purposes, and a second one that would be sent to the ISS.
The module should be cylindrical in shape — 3.05m in diameter and 4.27m in length; equivalent to a medium-sized van.
It should also be equipped to allow botanical studies and the development of new medical technologies.
Deciding on a name for the module could be made a national contest and the program could invite Taiwan’s high-school students to participate.
The Japanese Kibo module has been in service for quite some time. Taiwan should seek advice from its friendly neighbor.
The program should begin with a five-person team responsible for finding out, from the existing 16 member nations, the desired functions of a Taiwanese module.
There should be other scouting teams: a three-person team responsible for determining the geometry and basic structural needs; an 11-person team responsible for site selection and the planning of a high-bay, manufacturing facility; and a five-person team to recruit Taiwanese Astronaut Corp (10 members aged between 24 and 35) and to engage the public.
This is a call to arms for Taiwan’s economy. Taiwan must no longer chain itself to non-innovative manufacturing. Taiwan must head to space.
Kengchi Goah is a senior research fellow at the Taiwan Public Policy Council in the US.
South China Sea exercises in July by two United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers reminds that Taiwan’s history since mid-1950, and as a free nation, is intertwined with that of the aircraft carrier. Eventually Taiwan will host aircraft carriers, either those built under its democratic government or those imposed on its territory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). By September 1944, a lack of sufficient carrier airpower and land-based airpower persuaded US Army and Navy leaders to forgo an invasion to wrest Taiwan from Japanese control, thereby sparing Taiwanese considerable wartime destruction. But two
This year, India and Taiwan can look back on 25 years of so-called unofficial ties. This provides an occasion to ponder over how they can deepen collaboration and strengthen their relations. This reflection must be free from excitement and agitation caused by the ongoing China-US great power jostling as well as China’s aggressive actions against many of its neighbors, including India. It must be based on long-term trends in bilateral engagement. To begin with, India and Taiwan, thus far, have had relations constituted by various activities, but what needs to be thought about now is whether they can transform their ties
The US Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups are the most dramatic symbol of Washington’s military and geopolitical power. They were critical to winning World War II in the Pacific and have since been deployed in the Indo-Pacific region to communicate resolve against potential adversaries of the US. The presence or absence of the US Seventh Fleet — the configuration of US Navy ships and aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region built around the carriers — generally determines whether war or peace prevails in the region. In the immediate post-war period, Washington’s strategic planners in the administration of then-US president Harry Truman shockingly
On Thursday last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a barnstorming speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, titled “Communist China and the Free World’s Future.” The speech set out in no uncertain terms the insoluble ideological divide between a totalitarian, communist China and the democratic, free-market values of the US. It was also a full-throated call to arms for all nations of the free world to rally behind the US and defeat China. Pompeo elaborated on a clear distinction between China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in an attempt to recalibrate the