Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) was yesterday elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman in a four-way race that included outgoing chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). Chu, 60, garnered 85,164 votes, or 45 percent of the 187,998 KMT members who cast ballots. Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) trailed behind with 60,632 votes, followed by Chiang with 35,090 votes and former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) with 5,133 votes. Voter turnout was 50.71 percent. This will be Chu’s second time heading the party. He was elected KMT chairman in an unopposed by-election in January 2015 and resigned in January 2016 following the party’s losses in the presidential and legislative elections. In his victory speech yesterday, Chu said his election would be the start of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) worries. “The KMT will unite in an unprecedented manner, and we will fight for the pan-blue camp’s decisive victory,” he said. “We will fight for people’s rights and resist the DPP’s overbearing and aggressive behavior.” Asked by reporters what his approach would be to relations with China, Chu said the Taiwan-China relationship is “very important,” and that he would strive to open all channels of communication with China. Chu also reiterated his intention to open a KMT representative office in the US. Chu added he would travel across Taiwan to gather feedback on ways to improve the party from his supporters and detractors alike. He would seek to restore confidence in the KMT and encourage involvement of young people in the party’s improvement, he said. Following the election results yesterday evening, Chiang at the KMT headquarters in Taipei led party officials in resigning en masse and tasked KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) with handling the handover of the party leadership to Chu. Chiang said that despite his personal loss in the election, he felt the results to
Two Canadians detained in China on spying charges were released from prison and flown out of the country on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, just after Huawei Technologies Co (華為) chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) reached a deal with the US Department of Justice over fraud charges and flew to China. The frenetic chain of events involving the global powers brought an abrupt end to legal and geopolitical wrangling that for the past three years has roiled relations between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa. The three-way deal enabled China and Canada to each bring home their own detained citizens, while the US wrapped up a criminal case against a prominent tech executive that for months had been mired in an extradition fight. The first activity came on Friday afternoon when Meng, 49, the daughter of the company’s founder, reached an agreement with US federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year and allowed for her to return to China immediately. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings with Iran. About an hour after Meng’s plane left Canada for China, Trudeau revealed that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were also on their way home. The men were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a US extradition request. Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage diplomacy.” “These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace, and we are all inspired by that,” Trudeau said. News of Meng’s pending return was a top item on the Chinese Internet and on state broadcaster Chinese Central Television’s midday news report, with no mention made of the release of Kovrig and
A fifth shipment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by Japan arrived in Taiwan yesterday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, as it reported no new local infections or deaths, but five imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the batch of 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at noon. “Japan has gifted a total of 3,904,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to us,” he said, adding that the center is grateful to the Japanese government and public for helping increase vaccination coverage in Taiwan. The batch comprises doses with expiration dates of Nov. 26 and Nov. 30, he added. On Friday, 259,781 vaccine doses were administered, bringing the nation’s first-dose coverage rate to 51.49 percent, Chen said. As of Friday, 12,075,243 people had received a first dose of a vaccine, and 2,067,218 had received two doses, CECC data showed. Asked whether the CECC would allow further combinations for mix-and-match vaccinations — with first and second doses of different brands — Chen said that the center promotes the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as the first dose and the AstraZeneca or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose. Expanding the mix-and-match approach would only be considered if the vaccine supply makes it necessary, he said. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said Taiwan’s 10th round of vaccinations would focus on first-dose vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the ninth priority group who are younger than 40 and members of the general public aged 64 or younger would likely be eligible, but the exact age limits would be announced once the number of available doses has been confirmed, Chuang said. The AstraZeneca vaccine doses that arrived yesterday would be administered mainly as second doses to people who had
BROAD AGENDA: Leaders of the Quad said they stand for freedom of navigation and overflight, and laid out plans to combat COVID-19 and limit carbon emissions
US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia, India and Japan promised on Friday to work together for a stable, open and democratic Indo-Pacific in a veiled dig at China during their first in-person summit together. In Biden’s latest effort to cement US leadership in the face of a rising China, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) agreed to move ahead on a joint plan to provide COVID-19 vaccines across Asia, launched a new climate initiative and said the four nations would begin holding annual summits. Without any explicit mention of China, the leaders of the four democracies in a joint statement said they were committed to “promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion.” “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values and territorial integrity of states,” the statement said. “Free and open” has become code for expressing worry about swelling Chinese economic, diplomatic and military presence — including threats to vital international sea lanes. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking as the talks opened, said that the four “liberal democracies” were working to build a “strong, stable and prosperous region.” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the summit showed the four nations’ “common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — whose own track record on minority rights has been controversial at home — hailed the Quad’s “shared democratic values.” While the leaders carefully avoided public mention of China, Suga voiced “strong concern” during the talks about Beijing’s assertiveness at sea, its trampling of Hong Kong’s special status and its mass incarceration of the Uighur minority, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tomoyuki Yoshida said. Biden, who often talks about democracies needing to prove their capability in an age of powerful autocracies in Russia
Germany and France said they and other EU countries have nominated Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia for a second term as director-general of the WHO. This marks the first time that a candidate for the top job at the UN health agency has not been nominated by their home country. Tedros has been in the global spotlight over the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 19 months — an epochal crisis that eclipsed all else throughout his term, which began in 2017. The election for the next WHO director-general, which carries a five-year term, takes place at the agency’s next annual assembly meeting in May next year. Tedros has run afoul of the Ethiopian government of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over his outspokenness about killings and other human rights abuses in his home region of Tigray. Tedros was formerly a top official in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, once a dominant member of a coalition running Ethiopia, but now designated by the national government as a terrorist group. Tedros also served as health and foreign minister in the previous Ethiopian government. The diplomatic missions of France and Germany to UN institutions in Geneva, Switzerland, announced their support for Tedros on their Twitter feeds after a deadline for candidacies for the director-general post expired on Thursday. On its Web site, the WHO has said it does not plan to announce the full list of candidates until November, but some diplomatic officials have suggested that he might not have any competition. A diplomatic official in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 15 other EU members joined in nominating Tedros. Macharia Kamau, principal secretary for the foreign affairs ministry in Ethiopia’s neighbor Kenya, said on Twitter that his country backs Tedros — the first African to head the WHO.
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises
The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise, hosted every two years by the US Pacific Fleet near Hawaii. RIMPAC started in 1971 as an annual exercise to foster relationships between the US and its allies, and protect trade and sea lines in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Section 1243 calls for a report, to be issued no later than Feb. 15, on the feasibility of enhancing cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The provision requires an evaluation of bolstering cooperation on a range of activities, including disaster and emergency response, cyberdefense and communication security, military medicine, cultural and educational exchanges, and training Taiwan’s military reserve. Section 1247 reiterates the importance of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” as the foundation of ties between Taipei and Washington. The provision calls for practical training and military exercises with Taiwan; exchanges between Taiwanese and US defense officials at the strategic, policy and functional levels, especially for the purposes of enhancing cooperation on defense planning; improving the interoperability of the Taiwanese and US militaries; and improving Taiwan’s reserve force. Additional sections request reports on military and security developments involving China, the expansion of Chinese influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Beijing’s attempts to
Taiwan is willing to partner with members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and can play an important role in addressing key issues that the group hopes to tackle, Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said on Thursday. The Quad was to hold its first in-person summit yesterday. The issues — climate change, COVID-19, the restructuring of supply chains and regional security — are Taiwanese interests, Hsiao told India’s Tv9 Telugu, which identified her as “Taiwan ambassador” to the US. Taiwan seeks to establish partnerships with Quad member states, and other like-minded nations in the region, to address these issues, she added. Taiwan and India have many common interests on which they could collaborate, such as technology and manufacturing, she said. They could also work together on vaccine manufacturing, as India has demonstrated its resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic with its robust vaccine production, she said. Asked about Taiwan’s “secret” to resisting China, Hsiao said that Taiwan just wants to survive and that its democracy had been hard-won with many sacrifices. Taiwan has created a strong economy backed by legal institutions, and has also performed well in technology and other sectors, she said. Taiwanese love freedom, and want to survive and defend that freedom, she said, adding that it is not looking for a fight, but wants to freely interact with other nations. US-Taiwan relations are “rock solid”, and both nations share similar values and interests, such as democracy and liberty, as well as the safety and economic prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, Hsiao said. Bilateral ties have improved greatly over the past few years, as the nations collaborate on economic and security issues and support democracy, she said.
US President Joe Biden was yesterday set to host the first in-person gathering of leaders of an Indo-Pacific alliance known as the “Quad,” as he wraps up a difficult week of diplomacy after facing no shortage of criticism from allies and adversaries. The White House meeting with leaders from India, Japan and Australia gives Biden a chance to put the spotlight on a chief foreign policy goal: greater attention to the Pacific in light of what the US sees as China’s coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering in the region. The leaders are expected to announce a COVID-19 vaccine initiative, plans to bolster semiconductor supply chains and a program to bring graduate and doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to US universities. Before the summit, the Japanese and Indian governments welcomed a recent announcement that the US, as part of a new alliance with Britain and Australia, would equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. That would allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give it an edge on the Chinese navy. Michael Green, who served as senior director for Asia at the National Security Council during former US president George W. Bush’s administration, said Japan and India welcome the US-UK-Australia alliance “because it will really for the next 50 years reset the trajectories in naval power in the Pacific and from the perspective of those countries stabilize things as China massively builds up its naval forces.” However, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) called it a reflection of “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception” that would intensify a regional arms race. Beijing has also sought to push the notion that creation of the alliance indicates the US would favor Australia in the Quad at the expense of Japan and India, said Bonny Lin, senior
NOT QUALIFIED: Taiwan shrugged off China’s opposition to its bid, saying it is not a member and its trade system does not meet world standards
Japan yesterday welcomed Taiwan’s application to join a trans-Pacific trade pact, citing shared democratic values. Japanese officials’ appreciation of Taiwan’s values with regard to democracy and rule of law contrasted with Tokyo’s cautious reaction to China’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). “We consider Taiwan a very important partner with which we share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and rule of law,” Japanese Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference. Japan is chairing the pact this year. After Taiwan made the application on Wednesday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it opposed Taiwan “entering into any official treaty or organization.” In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and is the arch criminal in increased hostility across the Taiwan Strait,” it said. China is not a member of the CPTPP and its trade system has been widely questioned globally for not meeting the high standards of the bloc, it said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said tech powerhouse Taiwan is well-prepared to join the bloc. “Joining CPTPP will strengthen Taiwan’s key global strategic and economic and trade status, and further integrate us with the world,” Tsai said in Keelung yesterday. While Japan said Taiwan’s application would need to be scrutinized against the trade pact’s strict standards, the positive reaction stood in contrast to a cautious response to China’s application on Thursday last week. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed skepticism about China’s chances, citing strict rules related to state-owned enterprises. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato yesterday sidestepped a reporter’s question about the different reactions to the applications, declining to go into specifics on Japan’s position on China, but referring to values shared with Taiwan. Kato added that under the trade pact’s rules,
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans, opening a major new phase in the US vaccination drive against COVID-19. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky late on Thursday signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers, who recommended boosters be offered to people aged 65 or older, nursing home residents, and those aged 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot. However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected. The panel had voted against giving boosters to people aged 18 to 64 who are healthcare workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus. However, Walensky disagreed and put that recommendation back in, saying that such a move aligns with a US Food and Drug Administration booster authorization decision earlier this week. The category she included covers people who live in institutional settings that increase their risk of exposure, such as prisons or homeless shelters, as well as healthcare workers. The panel had offered the option of a booster for those ages 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want one. However, the advisers refused to go further and open boosters to otherwise healthy front-line healthcare workers who are not at risk of severe illness, but want to avoid even a mild infection. Walensky decided to disregard the advisory committee’s counsel on that issue. “As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” Walensky said in a statement late on Thursday night. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to
LOOKING FAVORABLE: Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi said that his country ‘welcomes Taiwan’s application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership’
Taiwan’s economy, with a successful application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), stands to grow by 2 percent, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday. The nation has applied to the Japan-led trade bloc under the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu,” Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “It’s the least controversial name and the same one under which we joined the WTO,” said Deng, who also serves as head of the Cabinet’s Office of Trade Negotiations. The 11-member trade bloc recommended that Taiwan rush its application after China also applied for membership on Thursday last week. “We have chosen to apply in our own time, but of course there was the worry that it would be more difficult if China gained entry first,” Deng said. However, Deng said he believes that the CPTPP member states review applications on a case-by-case basis and based on whether an applicant meets the bloc’s standards. Taiwan applied on Wednesday via its representative in New Zealand, who sent the accession form to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. New Zealand acts as the legal depositary for the bloc, and is responsible for circulating the application among its member states. Taiwan would next begin accession talks with all 11 CPTPP members, seeking their support and learning about which issues each member state is most concerned, Deng said, adding that he could not estimate how long it might take for Taiwan to join the trade bloc, given the uncertainties of the accession process. While tech products are mostly tariff-free under WTO rules, traditional industry could benefit from Taiwan joining the pact, while agriculture would suffer, Kung said. “We can expect a gain of about 2 percent to our GDP if we join the CPTPP, and
SUPPORTIVE ALLIES: Marshall Islands President David Kabua said: ‘General Assembly Resolution 2758 affords nothing to hide behind, as it expresses no position on Taiwan’
Marshall Islands President David Kabua on Wednesday urged the UN to put an end to the “shameful silence” on Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN system. In his 15-minute pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly in New York City, Kabua said that collective action is needed from all countries, stakeholders and people to ensure a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The democratic government of Taiwan should be allowed to participate in an equal and dignified manner within the UN system,” Kabua said, adding that this would include the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The UN has repeatedly cited General Assembly Resolution 2758 to prevent Taiwan’s inclusion, he said. “There is absolutely nothing in General Assembly Resolution 2758 which prevents this inclusive approach, and this resolution affords nothing to hide behind, as it expresses no position on Taiwan,” he said. “As a people-centric institution, the UN cannot ignore the Taiwanese people or continue to use their nationality to exclude them from attending public meetings or public tours at its headquarters. The shameful silence must end,” Kabua said. The resolution — passed on Oct. 25, 1971 — says that the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate representative of China to the UN, instead of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name. Taipei has over the past few years reiterated its position that the resolution is concerned with the representation of China, not Taiwan, and that it does not describe Taiwan as part of China, nor does it authorize Beijing to represent Taiwan in the UN system. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei Falla briefly mentioned Taiwan in his address to the General Assembly. Guatemala believes that Taiwan can provide “experience, capacities and knowledge” to boost multilateralism at a time when the world is facing challenges, he
Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) on Wednesday endorsed US President Joe Biden’s call to share vaccines with other countries during the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by Biden. The online summit was about supercharging efforts in three key areas: vaccinating the world, expanding the availability of medical treatment and public health tools, and reinforcing the global health security infrastructure, Biden said in his speech, a White House transcript showed. Biden announced that the US would purchase another 500 million doses of BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine to donate to low and middle-income countries. “We need other high-income countries to deliver on their own ambitious vaccine donations and pledges,” Biden added. In a pre-recorded speech, Chen thanked the Czech Republic, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the US for donating COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan. Since the pandemic started, Taiwan has launched four waves of humanitarian assistance, and donated more than 54 million masks and other supplies to more than 80 countries, said Chen, an epidemiologist with Academia Sinica. “Once there is enough supply to meet domestic need, we want to share our vaccines with other countries,” Chen said, adding that Taiwan would also continue to donate masks and other medical supplies to countries in need. “For our common vision of building back better, we will seek to contribute to the global health security financial intermediary fund that the United States plans to establish,” he said. Taiwan’s domestic COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗), was made available to people aged 20 or older from Aug. 23. Medigen is conducting phase 3 clinical trials in Paraguay, while its plan to conduct similar trials in Europe has received a “positive response” from the European Medicines Agency, the firm said on Wednesday. After Taiwan’s participation at an international meeting on fighting the Ebola virus in March, its participation in the US-led
The British government has warned some Hong Kong critics in the UK about traveling abroad, according to high-profile human rights advocate Bill Browder, highlighting concerns about the cross-border reach of the territory’s National Security Law. Browder, a well-known lobbyist for the use of sanctions against national governments involved in human rights abuses, said that he was contacted by the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office earlier this month after he was named in a Hong Kong court during a foreign collusion case. “[The] British government contacted me and other activists who were advocating for Magnitsky sanctions against Hong Kong officials to avoid traveling to countries with Hong Kong extradition treaties, to avoid getting ensnared in China’s new National Security Law,” Browder wrote on Twitter. A Bloomberg report said that the foreign office had contacted Browder by e-mail, and an official later informed him via videoconferencing about which countries can extradite people to Hong Kong. Browder did not detail other individuals who had been contacted. The British foreign office told Bloomberg that it could not comment on private meetings. The National Security Law, introduced in June last year, broadly outlaws a host of acts and activities as foreign collusion, secession, subversion and terrorism. So far, it has been used to arrest more than 140 people, including democracy advocates, students, media executives, journalists and human rights advocates. Charges have been filed against about half of those arrested, and some individuals who have since fled overseas are subject to warrants under the law. The law claims international jurisdiction, prompting concerns that it could be used to target people suspected of breaching it even if they are overseas. Hong Kong has 19 extradition agreements with other nations, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and Portugal. In response to the imposition of the National Security Law, several countries — including the UK, Australia, Germany,
Lithuania on Wednesday announced that it would donate a second batch of 235,900 doses of AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan in a gesture that reflects the warm ties between the two nations. The shipment is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan next month. The eastern European country’s first donation of 20,000 AstraZeneca doses arrived in Taiwan on July 31. Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said in a statement that the latest donation was part of her country’s efforts to assist other countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. “Global vaccines equity and solidarity are crucial in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which, unfortunately, continues to disrupt the lives of people and countries around the world,” she said. The Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia, which also promotes relations with Lithuania, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: “Even though this donation seems to be another manifestation of virtuous circle, we are still most grateful for Lithuanian double generosity.” In Taipei, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) on Wednesday night said that Taiwan appreciates Lithuania’s solid support, despite the distance between the two nations. “The warm friendship between diplomatic partners knows no borders,” he said. This second donation of COVID-19 vaccines again displays Lithuania’s love for democracy, and its strong and warm support for diplomatic partners, Chang said. The “circle of good” between the two nations would definitely overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, he added. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement late on Wednesday that a trade delegation being organized by the government plans to visit three eastern European countries next month, including Lithuania, to explore bilateral commerce and investment opportunities. The two nations are set to reciprocate representative offices by the end of this year in a show of solidarity between democracies, it said.
THE CPTPP: Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi said that Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua is to make a public announcement this morning
Taiwan has submitted an application to join a Pacific trade deal, just days after China sent its own request to become a member of the agreement that was once pushed by Washington as a way to isolate Beijing and solidify US dominance in the region. The Taiwanese application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was sent to New Zealand, with a public announcement scheduled for as soon as this morning, a person familiar with the situation said. New Zealand is the depositary nation for the deal, and is to forward the application to the other 10 nations. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reply to an e-mail requesting comment. Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) yesterday confirmed the Bloomberg report, saying that Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) would make a public announcement this morning, the Central News Agency reported. Taiwan has free-trade deals with two of the members — New Zealand and Singapore — and has been working toward joining the trade agreement for years, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) making it a key goal for her final term in office. However, China opposes any move to deal openly with Taiwan, which would make discussions between Beijing, Taipei and the 11 member nations difficult. Tsai’s government has made building support among democratic allies in the region a crucial part of its efforts to counter rising pressure from Beijing. This has included closer ties with CPTPP members such as Australia, which is in the midst of a trade dispute with China, and Japan, which is a key trading partner and the largest economy in the CPTPP. Last month, lawmakers from Japan’s ruling party backed Taiwan’s entry into the deal.
‘GREAT PROGRESS’: American Institute in Taiwan spokesman Ed Dunn said that all foreigners traveling to the US must show proof of two jabs from early November
Taiwan is expected to have 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage by the end of next month, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, touting the nation’s response to COVID-19 as the envy of many countries. Answering legislators’ questions, Su said that with good cooperation between the central and local governments, Taiwan is expected to have a first-dose vaccination rate of 60 percent by beginning of next month and a rate of about 70 percent by the end of the month. “In four months, Taiwan has made great progress, from less than 1 percent first-dose coverage in May to about 50 percent currently. Right now, 11.6 million people in Taiwan have received their first shot,” he added. Taiwan places near the top of Bloomberg News’ monthly COVID Resilience Ranking of major economies that have best fought the pandemic, Su said. “We are among the leaders in the latest ranking, and many countries around the world are envious of us for getting the pandemic under good control,” he added. Asked about the government’s delayed vaccine procurement, Su said: “Early on, Taiwan had a stable COVID-19 situation, without many cases, so most people were unwilling to get vaccinated.” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told Su: “If we cannot reach 70 percent coverage by the end of the year and have not procured more vaccines, you should resign.” Chiang criticized the government’s vaccine procurement for a lack of transparency, but Su said that the sourcing is being worked on at all levels of the government. Other lawmakers questioned Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) about the procurement process. “We have a time table, but it is better not to publicize it,” Chen said, adding that the number of doses continually changes and countries would fight over the amounts
Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr on Tuesday called for Taiwan’s participation at the UN on the first day of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session in New York City. In his 13-minute General Debate address, Whipps thanked Palau’s international allies for coming to its aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular Taiwan, the US, Japan and Australia. Their assistance — including donations of COVID-19 vaccines, personal protective gear and testing capacity — allowed Palau to remain “COVID-free and COVID-safe,” Whipps said. More than 80 percent of Palau’s population has been fully vaccinated, and there have been no deaths or hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19, for which the people of Palau are forever grateful, he said. The Palauan leader highlighted Taiwan’s leadership in the global response against the pandemic and its demonstration of “consistent and effective management of the pandemic within their borders,” efforts that extend to Palau. “Taiwan’s international response facilitated cooperation and implementation of an effective sterile travel corridor between Taiwan and Palau,” the president said. The sterile corridor, or “travel bubble,” has allowed the two nations to resume medical and educational cooperation, economic engagement and other benefits of international travel, he said. “We encourage the UN system to accept Taiwan as a valuable contributor to our collective efforts and strongly advocate for Taiwan’s participation in the UN system,” he said. With the world facing major challenges, Whipps used the analogy of a Palauan fish, the surgeonfish, to call for global unity. “The surgeonfish represents a unique characteristic. They fish to graze and roam on the reef alone, eating algae, but once danger lurks, they all swim quickly from wherever they are along the reef and come together in a large school, resembling an intimidating ocean animal to provide safety and security for all,” he said. He called on the international community to “act like the surgeonfish and come together,
Nearly 2.07 million people yesterday applied for the digital version of the Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers, which the government is to issue to stimulate consumer spending, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said. At 9am, a government Web site began to accept applications from people who intend to link the vouchers, valued at NT$5,000 (US$180), to a credit card or mobile payment service. The stimulus vouchers can be used from Oct. 8. The Web site recorded heavy traffic during the first three hours, as more than 3.51 million people visited the site, the ministry said, adding that by 9pm, the Web site had recorded 10.28 million visits. Of the applications, 1.61 million were for personal use, while 463,508 were for pooled used with friends or relatives, ministry data showed. People can link the vouchers to credit cards or mobile payment services, such as Apple Pay or Line Pay, or add the value of the vouchers to stored value cards, such as EasyCard and iPass. With Taiwan’s recent COVID-19 outbreak having eased, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook: “Now, we need to begin stimulating the economy.” She reminded those who would prefer the physical version of the vouchers to register through the Web site from Saturday and to spend them before April 30 next year. This is the second time that the government has issued spending vouchers to boost consumption after COVID-19 restrictions affected many retail businesses. In July last year, the government issued the first round of spending vouchers of NT$3,000, for which people needed to pay NT$1,000 and which expired on Dec. 31 that year. This time, no upfront payment is required. According to the ministry, 23.32 million people, or 98.35 percent of those eligible, collected the vouchers in the first round, leading to spending of nearly NT$64.48 billion.
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time, the defense ministry’s National Cyber Security Center said in the report. “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” Lithuanian Deputy Minister of National Defense Margiris Abukevicius told reporters in introducing the report. Xiaomi did not respond to a query for comment. Relations between Lithuania and China have soured recently. Last month, China demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall its ambassador to Vilnius after Taiwan announced that its mission in Lithuania would be called the “Taiwanese Representative Office.” Taiwanese missions in Europe and the US use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the nation itself, which China claims as its own territory. Last week, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and stressed the US’ support for her country in the face of pressure from China. The National Cyber Security Center’s report also said that the Xiaomi smartphone was sending encrypted usage data to a server in Singapore. HUAWEI A security flaw was also found in the P40 5G phone by China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) but none was found in the phone of another Chinese maker, OnePlus