Taiwan News: Government Accuses China of Bullying East Asia into Cancelling Taichung Games

Taiwan News: Government Accuses China of Bullying East Asia into Cancelling Taichung Games
Photo Credit: Website of Taichung 2019
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The government is accusing China of pressuring the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) to cancel next year's inaugural East Asian Youth Games in Taichung and is describing Beijing's actions as being "irrational, politically motivated and barbaric."

The statement follows a decision by the EAOC during a meeting in Beijing to revoke Taichung's hosting rights for the Games, which counts nine participating teams.

The meeting was reportedly called by Chinese representatives, who cited the on-going campaign here in Taiwan to hold a referendum on whether to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as "Taiwan" rather than under the title of "Chinese Taipei" as the reason behind the ruling.

According to the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, the EAOC members voiced concerns the referendum could affect the East Asian Youth Games.

China, South Korea, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Macau, and North Korea voted in favor of calling off the Taichung games, while Taiwan voted against it and Japan abstained. Guam was not eligible to vote.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China's success in interfering with the regional sporting event will make it possible for Beijing to interfere in other activities in other countries in the future.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a tweet that cancellation of the Games "on 's orders isn't acceptable to people" and reiterated calls for global solidarity in the face of Beijing's aggression against Taiwan.

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Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung's (林佳龍) said his office will meet with the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee to discuss ways to appeal against the East Asian Olympic Committee's decision to revoke the city's hosting rights for the 2019 East Asian Youth Games.

Speaking to reporters, Lin said in addition to lodging a formal protest with the regional sports body, discussions are also underway to determine what, if any recourse is open to overturn the vote and restore the city's right to host the games.

Lin said the city has spent over NT$676 million (US$22 million) in preparations for the Games and the use of political interference to take away Taichung's right to host the event violates the Olympic spirit.

Taichung was awarded the games by the East Asian Olympic Committee in October of 2014, following planning and coordination by both Lin and former Taichung mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
A Taiwanese flag is seen behind standard Type II missiles on Kee Lung (DDG-1801) destroyer during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018.

U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a single defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act 2019, that includes key Taiwan security provisions.

It directs the U.S. Secretary of Defense to review ways to boost Taiwan's military forces, especially its reserve forces, and to report recommendations and planned actions to the Congress within one year.

It includes ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and seeks to expand U.S.-Taiwan joint training, military sales, security cooperation and senior-level military-to-military engagements.

And it also calls for a service secretary or member of the joint chiefs of staff to visit Taiwan, in keeping with the Taiwan Travel Act, which was passed in March.

The final bill is now expected to pass this Thursday, but will not become law until it is signed by the president.

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President Tsai said Tuesday that her administration will continue to increase defense spending, develop an indigenous defense industry and work with other countries to contribute to regional peace and security.

Speaking at the Prospect Foundation's annual Asia Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei, Tsai said the government is aware that regional and global security are inseparable from Taiwan's safety and she remains committed to a robust defense policy.

According to Tsai, Taiwan's defense spending will keep pace with both its needs and GDP growth and she is also continuing to take measures to develop the island's own defense industry.

The statement comes after the U.S. Department of State urged Taiwan to increase its defense budget at a level on par with its security challenges.

Although the Tsai administration has repeatedly pledged to boost defense spending since taking office, the annual defense budget stands at around 2 percent of GDP, and that's short of the 3 percent the Tsai administration touted after taking power in 2016.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday that Taiwan is part of President Donald Trump's new "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Prospect Foundation's Asia Pacific Security Dialogue, Carter said he has "been part of" the strategy and it "favors an inclusive network of countries pursuing security in a way that is based upon rules and principle, and not coercion."

According to Carter, this will guarantee stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and Taiwan is a part of that network, of principle, inclusion and rules, and it's a privilege to have that relationship.

The Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy was introduced by the Trump administration in November 2017 and encompasses an area stretching from the U.S. West Coast to Japan, through Southeast Asia to Australia, and west to India.

Carter served as U.S. defense chief in the Obama administration from February 2015 to January 2017.

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U.S.-China expert Michael Pillsbury said Tuesday that Taiwan needs to embrace "creative thinking" about what the United States' "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy should be in six months if it wants to prevent statehood becoming a condition of entry.

According to Pillsbury, if Taipei fails to address the issue in that time, it will be too late – as Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address in January 2019.

Pillsbury said the Indo-Pacific strategy is a new idea that currently contains no details or entry conditions, but it still presents an opportunity for Taiwan to think creatively about what the strategy should be.

Asked about his recommendations for how Taiwan can best demonstrate its desire to be included in the strategy, Pillsbury said Taiwan should study the trade frictions between the U.S. and China and "take a stance" on those issues.

Pillsbury is a consultant to the Trump administration and a senior fellow and director for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Fishing boats stationed, as they braced for super typhoon Maria in Keelung near Taipei, Taiwan, July 10, 2018.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwanese fishing boats will no longer employ North Korean crew members by the end of this month.

The statement comes after the U.S. listed Taiwan as one of 42 countries and jurisdictions that still employ North Korean workers in defiance of United Nations sanctions on hiring laborers from the country.

According to the foreign office, the Fisheries Agency ordered all Taiwan fishing boats not to recruit new North Korean crewmen or extend their contracts on in August of 2016.

And it then requested all Taiwanese fishing vessels immediately end the employment of any North Korean nationals in May of last year.

The foreign ministry said the move has proven effective and as of Monday this week only three North Koreans were employed on deep sea fishing boats currently operating in the Pacific Ocean.

They will be let go when the boats dock at nearby ports by the end of the month.

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The Center for Disease Control says five more people have been diagnosed with Japanese encephalitis, bringing the total number of cases so far this year here in Taiwan to 31.

According to health officials, the five people were confirmed as being infected with the disease between July 15 and 21.

They are aged from 34 to 56 and come from Taoyuan's Bade and Pingzhen districts, New Taipei's Sanchong District, Nantou County's Renai Township, and Changhua's Fuxing Township.

They remain hospitalized and are undergoing treatment.

Four of them had been living in high risk areas of infection near pig farms or rice fields that are prime breeding grounds for the mosquito that carries the virus.

Japanese encephalitis is usually prevalent from May to October in Taiwan and it peaks between June and July.

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The High Speed Rail has carried its 500 millionth passenger, 11 years after the service was launched in early 2007.

The lucky passenger was traveling from Hsinchu to Taichung on a round trip ticket and has won a prize of unlimited travel on the high speed rail for one year.

The rail network is also giving prizes such as vacation packages to the travelers who bought the two tickets before and after the 500 millionth passenger.

Ridership on the high speed rail increased 5 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2018 to an average 173,000 passengers per day.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

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