Taiwan News: Double Gold for Men's Dragon Boaters, Guatemala Pledges Support

Taiwan News: Double Gold for Men's Dragon Boaters, Guatemala Pledges Support
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Taiwan is now in sixth place in the overall medals table at the Asian Games, up from eighth place on Monday, having amassed 12 gold, 12 silver and 17 bronze medals.

The men's dragon boat team took another gold, following up their victory in the 500 meter race in Monday with top place in the 1,000 meter event. These results, coupled with a silver in the 200 meter race, will earn each of the team's 16 members a NT$7.5 million (US$240,000) prize, according to stipulations in Taiwan's regulations governing rewards for medal winners at the games.

Gu Shiau-shuang (谷筱霜), 21, won gold in the final of the women's under-50-kilogram karate, edging Uzbekistan's Bakhriniso Babaeva 3-2 in a contest that came right down to the wire amid last ditch defense by the Taiwanese martial artist. The victory represent a remarkable success for a young woman who started the sport in high school and was raised by her coach in difficult family circumstances.

Meanwhile, Hsu Wei-chun (徐瑋駿, right) won bronze in the men's under-75-kilogram karate event.

In the mixed team compound archery final, Chen Yi-hsuan (陳怡瑄) and Pan Yu-pin (潘宇平) beat South Korea 151-150 for the gold, while the men's recurve archery team event also beat South Korea to win gold. However, the women's recurve archery team lost to South Korea in the final to win silver.

Taiwan's world badminton number one Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) has advanced to the women's singles final at after beating India's Saina Nehwal for the 10th straight time in the seminfinals. Badminton world number six Chou Tien-chen (周天成) advanced to the men's singles final after defeating Anthony Ginting of Indonesia.

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The Presidential Office is dismissing reports that former Premier Lin Chuan (林全), who served in the post during the early years of the Tsai administration, will replace People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) as head of Taiwan's delegation to the APEC leaders' summit in November.

宋楚瑜
Photo credit: 中央社
James Soong is yet to be confirmed as Taiwan's representative at the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea this November.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the report was fabricated and the government has yet to finalize its delegation to the APEC summit.

According to Huang, Soong has made great contributions to promote awareness of Taiwan's development at previous APEC summits and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)is grateful for his efforts.

The statement follows reports citing a Chinese official in charge of Taiwan affairs as saying the government is dissatisfied with Soong's performance and is planning to name a new APEC envoy.

The Chinese official was quoted as saying the Tsai administration's preferred candidate could be rejected by Beijing due to his unwillingness to recognize the 1992 consensus, under which both China and Taiwan notionally agree that there is "one China" despite disagreements over whether that country should be ruled from Beijing or Taipei.

The 2018 APEC leaders' meeting is slated for November in Papua New Guinea.

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The government will not push for full United Nations membership ahead of next month's UN General Assembly, but will make appeals calling for Taiwan's increased participation in international organizations, according to local media reports citing diplomatic sources.

Taiwan will reportedly lodge three requests at the assembly, which opens in New York on Sept. 18, including a call to scrap measures that prevent Taiwanese officials attending UN meetings, as well as provisions that ban ROC passport holders from covering UN meetings because they are not issued by a UN-recognized country.

The government will also ask the UN to allow Taiwan to participate in meetings related to its Sustainable Development Goals.

The government has not submitted a proposal calling for full UN membership since 2008.

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Guatemala is reaffirming its commitment to maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a week after El Salvador announced it was switching allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

Guatemala's embassy in Taipei said its ambassador to Taiwan relayed the message to Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) during a meeting on Monday.

Sources are being cited as saying that the meeting included discussions on bilateral cooperation projects and assistance on a highway project in the Central American country.

The statement and the meeting come amid concern that Honduras, Nicaragua or Guatemala could seek to sever ties with Taiwan in favor of China.

The Honduran and Nicaraguan ambassador to Taiwan reiterated their country's continuing support for Taiwan last week.

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Premier William Lai (賴清德) is set to outline his goals next year regarding the government's plan to make English a second official language.

According to Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka, the Ministry of Education will present a report in the coming weeks on its recommendations for adopting English as an official language alongside Mandarin.

Yotaka said Lai's policy goal is aimed at making Taiwan a bilingual country, with English and Chinese being its official languages.

The education ministry's Committee to Promote English as an Official Language has been carrying out public surveys and drafting a plan on how to achieve the goal since last year and it submitted its first report to the Cabinet in June.

A second and final report is scheduled to be released by early September.

Officials said that the report also covers legislative issues such as the feasibility of deregulation to help promote a broad bilingual environment.

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A 21-year-old Taiwanese-Canadian national has reportedly told prosecutors that he "witnessed the murder and dismemberment" of a Canadian English teacher in a New Taipei riverside park.

Wu Hsuan (吳宣), who works for the Taipei nightclub Triangle, has been released on bail of NT$300,000 after a brief court appearance.

Reports said Wu admitted to purchasing two machetes allegedly used to kill Ryan Ramgahan, but told the court he was not involved in the killing and only served as a look out.

The court said it found no evidence Wu had taken part in either the murder or the dismemberment of the body.

Police said they believe 30-year-old American national male Ewart Odane Bent and Israeli-American Oren Shlomo Mayer killed Ramgahan before dismembering the body and dumping the parts in the Xindian River.

Bent remains detained.

However, Mayer is believed to have fled to the Philippines and law enforcement authorities here are seeking his extradition.

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The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party has delivered petitions is support of three referendum proposals it hopes to see added to the ballot for November's local elections.

Party officials say they collected a total of 1.45-million signatures for the referendum proposals.

The KMT is seeking a referendum on air pollution regulations, a referendum on whether a new coal-fired power plant should be built in New Taipei and a plebiscite on whether to lift a ban on food products from areas of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima incident.

KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the referendums all concern matters of people's livelihoods.

While KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the strong support seen for the proposals shows widespread public support for better and healthier lives.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is under fire for refusing to sign a petition calling for a referendum on whether the island should use the title "Taiwan" rather than "Chinese Taipei" at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking to reporters after being approached at a bus stop by a referendum campaign worker, Ko said that as the head of a local government he will refer to the central government's ruling on the issue.

According to Ko, while he respects the rights of the public to hold such referendums, the issue is a diplomatic matter and therefore he is not in a position to make his opinion public.

Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic name change referendum drive have until this Friday to collect 281,745 signatures if they hope to have the ballot added to November's local elections.

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Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) has expressed his thanks to Tuvalu for its support of Taiwan's international participation and said he hopes the country will continue to back Taipei.

Chen made the remarks during a meeting with a Tuvaluan delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Maatia Toafa.

It is Toafa's second visit to Taiwan since President Tsai took office in May 2016.

According to Chen, along with cultural exchanges, the two countries have achieved great results in their cooperation in the areas of agriculture, medical care and education.

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RTX67WMV
Credit: Reuters / TPG
A F-16 fighter jet takes part in Han Kuang military drill simulating the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, in Taichung, Taiwan June 7, 2018.

The Air Force is reportedly set to take delivery of the first batch of upgraded F-16A/Bs by the end of the year.

The US$4-billion upgrade program is being carried out by U.S. firm Lockheed Martin and will see the Air Force's fleet of 143 F-16A/Bs upgraded to the F-16V variant.

Reports say say the Ministry of National Defense hopes to complete flight testing of the four upgraded F-16s by the end of this year at the earliest and ensure they are fully combat-ready by mid-2019.

The remaining 139 F-16s are set to be upgraded in batches of 24 per year.

The upgrade includes an advanced avionics system, improved radar, multi-target engagement capability and a helmet-mounted firing system.

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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)

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