Taiwan News: Tsai Calls US Taiwanese Home, Sherman Urges Washington Visit

Taiwan News: Tsai Calls  US Taiwanese Home, Sherman Urges Washington Visit
Photo Credit:Reuters/達志影像

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is urging young Taiwanese living in the United States to return to Taiwan and develop their careers here.

Speaking at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, Tsai said they shouldn't miss out on such an opportunity and if they opt to return to Taiwan there will be ample capital and the government will help them connect to local society.

Private sector investment is expected top to NT$3 trillion (US$97.4 billion) for the first time this year, she added in an address to some 1,200 expatriate Taiwanese.

Her visit, the first to the U.S. since President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act into law in March, was remarkable for allowing journalists to attend her engagements -- signalling a loosening of protocol that had previously seen Taiwanese presidents keep their visits to the U.S. low-key.

The move represents a degree of push back from the president and her allies after a sustained period of coercion by China, which has included the poaching of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, heightened military activities and the pressuring of civic groups and corporations around the world to drop activities and content that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign independent state.

The president was in Los Angeles for a day-long transit stop en route to Paraguay and Belize.

Tsai will attend the inauguration of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez tomorrow in Paraguay and head to Belize on Thursday.

She will transit via Houston for her return flight to Taiwan.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Rep. Brad Sherman is calling on US President Donald Trump to invite Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to the White House.

U.S. House representative Brad Sherman is calling on the White House to allow Taiwan's president to visit Washington D.C.

Sherman -- who sits on the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee -- made the call during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen in Los Angeles.

According to Sherman, the Taiwan Travel Act aims to encourage Taiwanese presidents to visit the U.S. capital and as such he hopes Tsai will be allowed to make what would be the highest level visit ever by a sitting Taiwanese head of state.

Tsai also held talks with House representative Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce while in Los Angeles.

And Royce said the U.S. needs to encourage more frequent visits by Taiwanese government officials as a way to further strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan partnership.

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The New Taipei City Fire Department said Monday that a short circuit in a wire connected to a mattress in a long-term care ward is believed to be the cause of yesterday's deadly fire at the Taipei Hospital in Xinzhuang.

An initial investigation showed the short circuit occurred on bed 235, in the hospital's 7A23 ward.

Nine people were killed and 30 other people were injured in the blaze.

The fire department said the investigation into the exact cause of the blaze is ongoing.

However, it is attributing the high death toll to the hospital's use of flammable mattresses, and staff's failure to close the doors in the ward where the fire was reported, as well as a failure to alert authorities until nine minutes after the blaze broke out.

Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) said staff had been preoccupied trying to save the seriously ill patients by moving them to safer parts of the hospital.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) has apologized to the patients, their families and the public for the fire and says fire prevention measures at hospitals across Taiwan will be stepped-up in order to to prevent any such similar incidents.

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The East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) is refusing to reverse its decision to cancel the East Asian Youth Games that were scheduled to take place next year in Taichung.

City Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Monday that he received a letter of rejection from EAOC Chairman Liu Peng, in response to a petition by the Taichung government for the committee to reconsider its position on the issue.

And writing on his Facebook page, Lin said he was aware of the difficulties involved in asking the committee to reinstate Taichung's right to host the games due to pressure from China.

However, he went on to say that he doesn't see a rejection of the petition as the end of the matter and his office will continue to appeal the decision.

Lin said the Taichung City government is considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, as its seeks legal recourse on the matter.

According to Lin, Taichung is also thinking of filing a lawsuit against the EAOC and will continue to seek the support of the international community.

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The first of a series of forums on the contents of the recently drafted economic immigration bill aimed at attracting foreign talent will be held this Friday.

According to the National Development Council (NDC), the forum will take place in Taipei and delegates will discuss opinions for necessary adjustments before the bill is submitted to the legislature for review.

The meeting will include members of local labor and business groups, academics and officials from several foreign chambers of commerce.

Two similar sessions will take place later this month.

The NDC released the draft act last week and officials said its primary goal is to boost the recruitment and retention of mid-level skilled foreign talent in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, and information and communication technology.

It targets professionals, mid-level skilled workers as well as Taiwanese expats and their children.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Additional subsidies for electric scooters are good news for those who wish to join these Gogoro electric scooter owners in Taipei.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said it plans to provide additional funding to a subsidy program for electric scooters.

Officials said the move is aimed at encouraging more people to replace their gasoline-powered scooters with electric models and to promote cleaner air.

According to the ministry, only NT$20 million (US$648,730) of the NT$440 million budgeted to subsidize electric scooter purchases this year is left and it will now be supplemented by additional funds.

Those funds will come from subsidies given to electric vehicle manufacturers to set up battery charging stations.

The ministry said the electric scooter subsidies have been used up more quickly than expected this year because of the sharp rise in vehicle sales.

More than 40,000 license plates have been issued for electric scooters and motorcycles so far this year, more than double the 18,000 issued in the same period of last year.

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The Chinese Taipei Olympians Association has said that any move to unilaterally change the name under which Taiwan competes at the 2020 Tokyo Games could damage Taipei's membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The statement come after organizers of a proposed referendum seeking to change the title from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" held rallies this past weekend to promote a signature drive for the ballot.

According to the association, any name change has to be approved by the IOC Executive Board and as the island's official title is the Republic of China, the sports body is unlikely to approve any change from the current title of "Chinese Taipei."

The association is warning that any moves to change that could result in Taiwan losing its IOC membership and being banned from international sporting events sanctioned by the Olympic body.

The association is made up of former members of Taiwan's Olympic teams.

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The first transnational crime-fighting and forensic science workshop under the Taiwan-U.S. Global Cooperation Training Framework will begin today in Taipei.

The two-day workshop is being jointly co-hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and and the Investigation Bureau.

Organizers said the aim of the event is to deepen international cooperation to combat cross-border crime.

The workshop will be attended by representatives of 16 countries. New AIT Director William Brent Christensen will attend the opening ceremony.

The Global Cooperation Training Framework was established in June 2015 and is designed to support bilateral cooperation in international public health, humanitarian assistance and other global issues.

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The Central Weather Bureau said we can expect to see rain pretty much islandwide for most of this week as a tropical depression gradually moves past Taiwan.

The weather bureau is warning of heavy downpours and possible flooding in some parts of the north and west.

And a second tropical disturbance is expected to approach Taiwan this Thursday or Friday, which, along with southwesterly air flows, will bring more rain over the weekend.

Forecasters also said that Tropical Storm Bebinca is not expected to affect Taiwan.

Bebinca is the 18th storm of this year's Pacific typhoon season and formed near China's Guangdong Province on Monday.

The storm is almost stationary near Guangdong and packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 72-kilometers-an-hour, with gusts of up to 100-kilometers-an-hour.

Bebinca is forecast to move in a westerly direction in the coming days towards China's Hainan Island.

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A German student whose paper on human rights lawyers in China got him into trouble with authorities in Beijing has told German newspaper Die Welt that he doesn't regret what he did and would consider becoming an exchange student here in Taiwan.

Twenty-four year-old David Missal was a journalism student at the Qinghua University in Beijing.

He was forced to leave China last week after his student visa was revoked apparently because of the paper he wrote on human rights lawyers.

Missal said his paper focused on the plight of lawyers in China and touched on a "taboo" topic -- which he says is why his student visa was revoked.

He was originally set to stay in Beijing for at least another year.

Missal said he now plans to finish his master's program in Berlin, while also considering becoming an exchange student in Taiwan.

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Well-known German pianist Rolf-Peter Wille has received his Republic of China ID card -- officially making him an ROC citizen.

Speaking at a ceremony organized by Taipei's Daan Household Registration Office, Wille said he no longer feels like a stranger here.

Wille, who currently teaches at the Taipei National University of the Arts, is one of several foreign national to be granted ROC citizenship because of his professional background and the first foreign musician to receive an ID card.

According to Wille, he has viewed Taiwan as his homeland since coming here at the age of 24 and his entire professional career and musical life is profoundly entwined with Taiwan.

Foreign professionals who have made an outstanding contribution to Taiwan are able to attain ROC citizenship without renouncing their existing nationalities as a result of revisions to the Nationality Act made in 2016.

The Ministry of the Interior said in June that some 50 foreign professionals in six fields have so far been granted citizenship after a vigorous screening process.

American Catholic priest Brendan O’Connell was the first person to earn ROC citizenship under the new rules.

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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 (@DavidPeterGreen)