Taiwan News: Bid to Be Taiwan at Tokyo Olympics Gathers Support

Taiwan News: Bid to Be Taiwan at Tokyo Olympics Gathers Support
Photo Credit: Tyrone Siu / Reuters / TPG
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Organizers of a referendum on Taiwan participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" say the cancellation of the 2019 East Asia Youth Games in Taichung has boosted support for the move.

According to Team Taiwan Campaign for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC)'s decision to revoke Taichung's hosting rights due to pressure from China has spurred more people to support the referendum.

The group held a rally Sunday night in Taipei to gather signatures.

Team Taiwan Campaign for 2020 Tokyo Olympics is an alliance of several local groups.

And alliance spokesperson Yang Tzu-fu (楊梓富) said there has been about a twofold increase in the number of people signing the petition since last week, when the EAOC called off the Taichung Games.

Yang also said that the alliance has so far collected about 90,000 signatures, still far short of the 280,000 required before an Aug. 31 deadline for the referendum petition to be considered valid.

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Defense officials say the military plans to revive a one-month-per-quarter military training program from next year to boost combat readiness.

The program was suspended in 1991 because military services and units have their own training programs and missions.

However, sources say due to the volatile situation in the Taiwan Strait in recent years, the military plans to revive the program to replace the existing one-week-per-month training program.

The one-month military readiness training program is expected to include joint training and exercises conducted by all three branches of the armed forces and will seek to reinforce military combat training and enhance their combat capabilities.

Reports said details of the plan are still being discussed, but a final report is due to be released by September and a full review conducted in December before a date for resumption of the 'combat readiness month' is announced.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
A villager sits at her damaged house after an earthquake hit Sembalun Bumbung village in Lombok Timur, Indonesia, July 29, 2018.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has sent her condolences to the people of Indonesia following the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that killed 14 people and injured more than 100 others on Lombok Island.

Tsai said Taiwan is willing and able to help provide assistance to people in the disaster-hit area if needed.

Presidential Office Spokesman Sydney Lin (林鶴明) is quoting Tsai as expressing her hope that life will return to normal as soon as possible and damaged structures capable of being saved are repaired.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and tour agents in Taipei said no Taiwanese were reported injured in the earthquake.

But the ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs said it is continuing to closely monitor the aftermath of the temblor and is ready to offer assistance to Indonesia should it be required.

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The de facto U.S. embassy here in Taiwan is reiterating that security arrangements at its new office compound in Taipei's Neihu District will be the same as at the current site.

According to American Institute (AIT) in Taiwan spokesperson Amanda Mansour, a small number of American personnel along with a larger number of locally hired employees, will provide security for the new office building, in cooperation with local authorities.

The statement comes after the Liberty Times reported Washington had informed Taiwan's national security officials that a small contingent of Marines would be posted at the AIT's new compound this September.

The report followed a statement last year by former-AIT Director Stephen Young, who made a similar claim.

The AIT spokesperson said the de facto embassy does not make political statements with its security and only brings in a sufficient number of people to coordinate with local staff to ensure the security of employees who work there.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is downplaying reports the government has asked to resume stationing military police at its representative office and Twin Oaks Estate in Washington D.C.

Reports have claimed the the government is seeking to station military police at the representative office and Twin Oaks Estate due to Washington's decision to post U.S. Marines at the new AIT in Taipei's Neihu District.

An unnamed senior government official is being quoted as saying that "based on reciprocity" the military hopes to resume stationing military police at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office and at its Twin Oaks residence in Washington D.C.

Foreign office spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the military police stationed at the representative office and the Twin Oaks Estate were removed in 2003 as part of downsizing efforts and had nothing to do with reciprocity.

However, the spokesmen failed to say whether or not the government has now asked the U.S. for permission to re-deploy military personal at the facilities.

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Photo Credit:公民監督國會聯盟
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan has returned to Taipei after a visit to rally support for Taiwan in Paris.

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) has returned to Taiwan from Paris after finishing a 10-day visit to Europe aimed at garnering support for Taiwan in the international community.

Su headed a delegation of lawmakers that visited the UK, Sweden and France.

According to Su, the goal of the trip was to ensure the world knows more about Taiwan and the situation it faces by means of "parliamentary diplomacy."

Su said the Legislative Yuan maintains contacts with 98 parliaments around the world and through interactions between friendship associations they regularly communicate with each other on many issues.

The Legislative Speaker said the delegation was welcomed at the French National Assembly and his is now the first legislative speaker from Taiwan to have visited the French parliament.

Taiwan has stepped up diplomatic outreach under the government of President Tsai, notably by receiving almost double the number of foreign legislative visits to Taiwan compared with the final two years of the previous administration, according to David An, a senior research fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington DC.

Writing in the The Global Taiwan Brief, An details important visits to Taiwan by delegations from the U.S., UK, Germany, France, and the European Parliament.

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Taiwan has seen slower growth in the number of "new immigrants" arriving in the country in recent years.

According to a legislative report, the slowdown is being largely attributable to a sharp decline in the number of Chinese spouses of Taiwanese citizens, although there has been a slight increase in the number of spouses from Hong Kong and Macau.

As of the end of March, the number of new immigrants resident in Taiwan totaled 533,159, including 338,940 Chinese spouses and 101,333 Vietnamese spouses.

The report indicates that over the past few years, the number of foreign spouses married to Taiwanese citizens has increased slightly, from 3,277 in 2010 to 6,001 in 2017, with the number of Hong Kong and Macau spouses rising from 308 in 2010 to 919 in 2017.

However, in the same period, the number of Chinese spouses fell from 11,136 in 2010 to 2,456 in 2017.

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The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the first imported case of Zika virus infection this year.

Health officials said the patient is a local woman in her 40s who was infected during a recent trip to the Philippines.

The woman was confirmed to have the Zika virus during a recent family holiday to Cebu.

She was admitted to a hospital in the Philippines on July 16 and underwent medical treatment.

And she was later admitted to a hospital in Taiwan immediately after returning from the Philippines on July 19.

She has since recovered after undergoing further treatment and already been released from the hospital.

None of her family members have so far shown any symptoms of the virus.

Taiwan has reported 18 Zika cases since 2016, all of which originated overseas, mostly from Southeast Asian countries.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwanese students are increasingly worried about the state of higher education in the country.

The quality of higher education is increasingly causing concern, with over 80 percent of people believing the high unemployment rate among new college graduates is serious, according to a survey by the Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授基金會).

According to the foundation, the survey identifies several problems in the higher education system that worry respondents.

These include a lack of international competitiveness among students, the detachment of universities from the needs of industry and the poor quality of universities.

The poll found that 58.8 percent of respondents were worried about social stratification caused by education and 78.3 percent of respondents believe the government should provide financial subsidies to economically disadvantaged students.

The poll also revealed that 89.1 percent of respondents think the government should strengthen manpower planning and encourage the establishment of related academic departments based on such plans.

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A government research report shows that Taiwan is experiencing a severe imbalance in talent inflows and outflows.

The reports shows that the majority of Taiwanese leaving the country to work have higher education degrees that qualify them for professional jobs, while most foreigners working in Taiwan are non-professionals.

The report by the Legislative Yuan's Budget Center shows that the number of Taiwanese working in foreign countries increased from 662,000 in 2009 to 728,000 in 2016.

Among Taiwanese working overseas in 2016, 73.4 percent were college or university graduates, or those with higher academic degrees, the report said.

In contrast, the number of foreign professionals working in Taiwan has risen much more slowly, from 27,319 in 2008 to 30,928 in 2016.

However, only 8.52 percent of them were high-ranking executives at overseas Taiwanese-invested or foreign companies.

The number of foreign workers hired to do non-professional jobs in Taiwan grew from 365,060 in 2008 to 676,142 in 2016.

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

Editor: David Green