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.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number