No unification date: official
Beijing has no timetable for unification with Taiwan, Jing Quan (井泉), the No. 3 official at the Chinese embassy in Washington, said on Wednesday. “We don’t want to use force” against Taiwan, but Beijing needs the capability to deter Taipei from declaring independence,” Jing said in a speech at the Institute for China-America Studies. “Some people are talking about five years, 10 years, 2035, 2049 — I don’t think so,” he added. “We want to get united as soon as possible, but we don’t have a timeline.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month said that Beijing was trying to “speed up” its seizure of Taiwan. US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday earlier last month warned that China could attack before 2024.
Chiayi polls on Dec. 18
The Chiayi mayoral race is to be held on Dec. 18, the Central Election Commission said yesterday, after the election was postponed following the death on Wednesday of independent candidate Huang Shao-tsung (黃紹聰). The Chiayi Election Committee said the new mayor is still expected to assume office on Dec. 25. The committee is to announce today a timetable for candidates to reregister and draw new numbers. According to Article 30 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), an election must be halted if a registered candidate passes away between the deadline for registration and the day before voting.
Army holds defense drills
The army’s Special Forces yesterday deployed rotary-wing aircraft for the first time during drills designed to simulate the ferrying of troops into defensive positions in Taipei’s Guandu (關渡) area. Flown in two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and escorted by an AH-64E Apache Guardian, the Special Forces units traveled along the Tamsui River (淡水河) before landing at the Guandu Area Command compound. Given the river’s proximity to the Presidential Office Building, simulating the destruction of the Guandu Bridge — a key crossing — has been a routine part of army exercises, officials said. Past drills had involved infantry marching into the Guandu Area Command, the army said, adding that yesterday’s exercises aimed to simulate the rapid reinforcement of defensive positions in and around Taipei.
Police free 26 captives
New Taipei City police on Wednesday said they had arrested eight people over the illegal imprisonment and torture of 26 people freed during a raid in Tamsui District (淡水). The Tamsui Precinct said in a statement that armed police on Tuesday raided the suspects’ hideout following a tip from a man claiming to be the father of one of the captives. Police found 26 men and women aged 23 to 58 confined in a 16.5m2 apartment room. All of the captives were handcuffed and shackled, and had scratches, bruises and cigarette burns on their bodies, they said. The suspects had lured the captives to the apartment on the pretense of interviewing for jobs with monthly salaries of NT$50,000 to NT$200,000. During the fake job interviews, the suspects demanded the jobseekers hand over their bank passbooks and identification documents, as well as apply for an online bank account for use in money laundering. The captives were only given one meal a day, and were beaten using bats and stun rods if they refused to take orders, police said. The case has been handed over to the Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
INCENTIVES: The province’s ‘21 measures’ include enhanced agricultural loans for Taiwanese farmers, and rent waivers and housing subsidies for Taiwanese start-ups China’s Fujian Province on Monday began implementing 15 economic measures targeting Taiwanese in its latest bid to fan pro-Beijing sentiment ahead of the Jan. 13 elections. Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said the policies were part of “21 measures” unveiled in September by China for Fujian’s “integrated cross-strait development demonstration zone.” The partially implemented measures, which were created with input from Beijing, include reducing the wait time for Taiwanese applying for a visa from 20 days to five days and free public transit for Taiwanese older than 65, it said. Residents of Taiwan were granted use of the “all provincial Taiwanese entrepreneur compatriot
Tokyo has requested regions in southern Japan to accommodate people evacuated from Okinawa Prefecture in case of a war in the Taiwan Strait, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday. If a conflict breaks out across the Strait, people on the Sakishima Islands, which lie between Taiwan proper and Okinawa’s main island, would have to be evacuated from the prefecture, the news agency reported. An estimated 120,000 people would need to be moved, including 110,000 citizens and 10,000 tourists, it said. Niitani Koushi, who is in charge of crisis management at the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat, visited Yamaguchi Prefecture at the southern end of Japan’s