Arms sale to proceed
The Obama administration will proceed with arms sales to Taiwan despite recent protests by China, a US official said on Tuesday. Speaking from Hawaii, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt said that sales of arms to Taiwan were consistent with what White House officials have been saying was US President Barack Obama’s policy. “No one should be surprised when we move forward with them,” he said. Burghardt declined to say exactly when Obama would notify Congress of an arms sale. In the past week, Chinese officials and news organizations have expressed anger over reports that the Obama administration could notify Congress shortly of such arms sales. Notification is the final step in the process. US officials say China could break off military-to-military contacts with the US once notification is made as it did in October last year when the Bush administration sold Taiwan US$6.5 billion worth of weapons.
Cold air mass hits nation
A cold air mass from China sent temperatures falling through much of Taiwan yesterday and could push the mercury to below 10°C in northern and central areas this weekend, the Central Weather Bureau said. The cold air mass will envelop Taiwan completely beginning today, making the weather noticeably colder, and could linger over Taiwan until next week, a bureau forecaster said. Temperatures are expected to be about 18°C in the north and northeast, with lows of between 15°C and 16°C in central regions, between 22°C and 23°C in eastern regions and between 24°C and 25°C in the south and southeast.
Tibetans on hunger strike
More than 30 Tibetan exiles in Taiwan have been on a hunger strike outside the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC) since late on Monday night to protest the commission not confirming their Tibetan status, which led to the National Immigration Agency’s (NIA) refusal to grant them residency. A total of 134 Tibetans living in Taiwan applied for residency earlier this year — 78 were granted residency while 56 were rejected because of insufficient proof of their status as Tibetans. The Tibetans who were denied residency asked whether the MTAC had double standards in assessing the proof of their Tibetan status. “How come some people received it, but others didn’t? There are even two brothers with the elder brother granted residency while the younger brother wasn’t,” Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association chairman Jamga said. “I suspect that maybe only people on good terms with MTAC officials can get it.” MTAC rebutted the accusation and said that the individuals whose application were rejected could apply again if they have new evidence to prove their Tibetan status.
Hope’s the word
“Hope” (pan, 盼) has been voted the Chinese character of the year in Taiwan, with many people believing a sustained period of crisis and disaster is finally coming to an end, a survey showed yesterday. It replaced “chaos” (luan, 亂), the character considered most representative of last year, and reflected how the mood in Taiwan has changed from pessimism to cautious optimism, said the Chinese-language United Daily News, which co-organized the poll. “This year we chose ‘hope’ over ‘chaos,’ symbolizing that Taiwan has bottomed out and is moving toward the light,” the paper said.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,