Taiwan News: Trami Strengthens, Defense Minister Won't Attend US Conference

Taiwan News: Trami Strengthens, Defense Minister Won't Attend US Conference
Defense Minister Yen De-fa (R) | Credit: Reuters / TPG
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The Central Weather Bureau has said Super Typhoon Trami could start affecting Taiwan on Friday. However, as of now, the storm is currently not forecast to make landfall in Taiwan.

Trami is currently located some 1,000 kilometers east of Eulanbi at the island's southernmost tip and is moving in a northwesterly direction at 12 kilometers an hour. The storm has a radius of 250 kilometers and is packing sustained wind speeds of 190 kilometers an hour, with gusts of up to 234 kilometers an hour.

The weather bureau said that, if the storm continues on its current predicted path, it will begin to veer in a more northerly direction tomorrow or Thursday and move towards the Ryukyu Islands and threaten southern Japan this weekend.

However, the storm's outer rim is forecast to affect the northern parts of Taiwan from Friday. If Trami continues on it forecast path, it will be closest to Taiwan on Saturday.

Ferry services from Taitung to Orchid Island (Lanyu) are being suspended from noon today until Friday, while ferries between Taitung and Green Island will be paused from tomorrow until Friday.

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Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) will not attend the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference next month.

Defense officials say Yen decided not to attend the event as the conference is a "non-governmental platform."

Deputy Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung (張冠群) will attend the October conference in Annapolis, Maryland as Taiwan's top representative.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwan's Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa speaks at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in Kinmen County, Aug. 23, 2018.

The announcement comes amid speculation that Yen could have been one of the few Taiwanese defense ministers to attend the meeting after he was invited to attend the event by the US-Taiwan Business Council. Only two defense ministers have ever participated in the annual conference since it was first held in 2002.

It was also hoped Yen's visit would help promote increased high-level official exchanges between Taipei and Washington following passage of the Taiwan Travel Act earlier this year.

The defense ministry says this year's conference will focus on issues concerning industrial cooperation and security.

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The Mainland Affairs Council has urged Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong government to adopt a tolerant, rational and open attitude when dealing with people's demands for more political freedom after Beijing banned the Hong Kong National Party on national security grounds.

It was the first time Hong Kong has banned a political party since the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

The council says there is widespread public opposition to move in Hong Kong as seen by recent protests in the former British territory.

According to the council, efforts to suppress democracy and freedom in Hong Kong will only exacerbate political opposition there and hurt the territory's stability and prosperity.

The ban on the Hong Kong National Party means that anybody who associates with it can be fined and sentenced to up to three years in prison.

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Hong Kong's Cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君) said he believes the Vatican will eventually establish formal diplomatic ties with China, but will also seek to continue to maintain relations with Taiwan.

The statement came only days after Beijing and the Holy See signed an agreement on the appointment of bishops.

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Credit: VOA / CC0
Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, pictured in 2013.

According to Zen, the establishment of formal ties between China and the Vatican will not happen anytime soon, as there are other issues that need to be "taken care of."

Zen says the Holy See has long been prepared to sever ties with Taiwan, but he believes formal relations with Beijing are still far away and if the two sides were to establish ties, it would be for secular rather than religious reasons.

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Veterans Affairs Council Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) has been inducted into the U.S. Army War College Hall of Fame, becoming the first Taiwanese military officer to receive the honor from the Pennsylvania-based school.

According to the council, Chiu attended the induction ceremony on August 30.

Chiu graduated as an armor officer from the ROC Military Academy in 1967.

He enrolled at the US Army War College in 1999.

Chiu retired from the military in April of last year and was appointed Veterans Affairs Council Minister in February.

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Deputy Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) will be holding talks today with the visiting UK Minister for Trade Policy, George Hollingbery.

The talks are expected to focus on building stronger trade and investment links and resolving market access issues. Both sides are also likely to celebrate the recent introduction of British pork products to the Taiwanese market.

Hollingbery arrived in Taiwan on Sunday. He is slated to meet with President Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文), Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).

He will also meet UK businesses in Taiwan including the offshore wind, financial services and pharmaceutical sectors.

According to the British Office Taipei, this weeks talks are geared towards reducing bilateral barriers.

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Science Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) says talks between Taiwan and the Philippines to examine progress in bilateral projects and explore further areas for cooperation have been productive.

According to Chen, the two sides are examining the progress of ongoing projects related to disaster management, medical care, agriculture, and talent cultivation at this week's meeting of the Joint Science and Technology Commission.

Chen says the projects being evaluated are the VOTE project, a program launched last year to cooperate on natural disaster prevention and relief, and the Joint Research Project, which is aimed at enhancing exchanges between researchers from the two sides.

The minister says Taiwan and the Philippines have also sought to expand cooperation in the agricultural and medical sectors to create new opportunities for businesses in both countries.

Chen is heading Taiwan's 16-member delegation to the event in the Philippines this week.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Taiwan is scheduled to launch a new research vessel in late October to conduct marine research in the waters south of the country .

The trip is likely to involve scientists from the Philippines and Vietnam. The decision to include foreign crew members is aimed at enhance the vessel's research capability and increase its international visibility.

The 2,629-ton "Legend" was built in Vietnam by a Singapore-based shipbuilder.

The National Applied Research Laboratories says the ship can accommodate 19 crew members and 24 researchers and operate for up to 30 days without refueling.

The ship cost the research institute NT$870 million (US$28.34 million) and was built to replace the 2,700 ton research vessel "RV Ocean Researcher 5," which sank in waters off Penghu in 2014.

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The mayor of the Philippine city of Dipolog is looking to cooperate with Kaohsiung and exchange experiences in flood management in the face of extreme weather conditions.

Dipolog Mayor Darel Dexter Uy raised the issue during a a visit to a detention basin in Kaohsiung's Sanmin District. The basin also serves as a park and the detention ponds are effective in reducing rainwater runoff.

The Philippine city mayor said he hopes to learn from Kaohsiung's experience in flood risk management because Dipolog has never made use of artificial flow control structures such as detention basins despite being vulnerable to flooding.

The mayor is visiting Taiwan to attend the second Global Harbor Cities Forum in Kaohsiung this week.

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An initial autopsy into the death of a giraffe housed at the privately run Wanpi World Safari Zoo in Tainan shows the animal may have choked to death.

Seven-year-old Hsiao Shun (宵順) died in its enclosure on Sunday and the giraffe was seen falling to the ground suddenly and vomiting before becoming motionless.

A picture of the giraffe moments after it collapsed was posted on social media.

Wanpi World deputy general manager Lee Ying-chun says specialists believe the animal may have choked to death on food stuck in its windpipe.

Hsiao Shun was born in 2012 and was the sixth offspring of the Taipei City Zoo's Chu Chong and Chang Hsiao.

The giraffe was sent to Wanpi World to mate in 2013 as part of a conservation cooperation program.

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

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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