Taiwan would provide medical assistance to people if complications arise from taking Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.
Deputy MAC Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) made the remarks in response to media queries amid reports that China-based Taiwanese businesspeople were facing pressure from Beijing to be vaccinated for free under its program.
“No Taiwanese businesspeople wanted to get that vaccine,” a source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on condition of anonymity. “China makes forms that Taiwanese businesspeople have to fill out. After they fill out the form, it half-forces them to take the Chinese vaccine.”
The council is “paying close attention” to the situation and would ensure that Taiwanese receive medical care should their health be compromised in China, Chiu said.
Taiwanese working in China should weigh the risk of vaccines carefully and take all precautions to protect their health, he said.
When asked whether the government would set up a “travel bubble” for the Lunar New Year holiday for people who have received a Chinese vaccine, Chiu said: “This is not the time to think about” traveling.
The council would comply with measures set up by the Central Epidemic Command Center, he said.
Commenting on Hong Kong, Chiu condemned the arrest of lawyer Daniel Wong (黃國桐) and 10 other dissidents under the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory.
“The international community is concerned with the authorities’ conduct, which has been harmful to human rights,” he said. “Instead of resorting to ever harsher repression, the path to maintaining tranquility and prosperity in Hong Kong is to deal with people’s wishes with reason and tolerance.”
Meanwhile, the council marked the 30th year of its founding with a Facebook post, saying that its birthday wish is for “the relationship across the Taiwan Strait to be one of mutual trust, benefit, prosperity and peace.”
Beijing should face reality and change its attitude toward cross-strait ties, Chiu said.
The council has not planned any events to mark the anniversary due to concerns about the pandemic, he said.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an
BILINGUAL NATION 2030: Those interested can apply online, while recruitment would continue until all of the positions are filled, the Ministry of Education said The recruitment of foreign English teachers for elementary and junior-high schools would be expanded in the 2022-2023 school year as part of Taiwan’s efforts to become a bilingual country, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday. In a statement, the ministry said that it has since 2004 hired 81 foreign nationals per year to teach English in 16 smaller counties and cities to build a better English-learning environment for students. However, for the 2022-2023 school year, the number of foreign English teachers recruited would increase to 531, with some of them to be posted to Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan
US Representative Mike Gallagher on Friday introduced a bill aimed at increasing Taiwan’s asymmetric defense capabilities to protect against China’s military aggression. Under the proposed arm Taiwan act of 2021, the US would enhance Taiwan’s defenses against a Chinese invasion by allocating US$3 billion every year for a “Taiwan Security Assistance Initiative,” Gallagher said in a statement. The act would make Taiwan’s progress in preparing its military and fielding weapons required to deter an attack by China a condition for conventional arms sales to the nation, he said. “General Secretary [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平) has made unification of Taiwan with the mainland,