Taiwan News: Honduras, Guatemala Silent on Taiwan at UN, New PRC Investment Rules

Taiwan News: Honduras, Guatemala Silent on Taiwan at UN, New PRC Investment Rules
Credit: Reuters / TPG

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

Two of Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies in Central America declined to voice support for the country at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

The leaders of Honduras and Guatemala did not mention Taiwan in their addresses to the assembly, in contrast to the vocal support offered by six of Taiwan's other remaining allies.

Honduras in particular has been the subject of speculation indicating that President Juan Orlando Hernández could be the next to cut ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing, after neighboring El Salvador became the third country this year to do so in August.

AfterParaguay and the Marshall Islands' leaders spoke up for Taiwan earlier in the week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Thursday that four more allies urged the UN to find ways to encompass Taiwan into its activities.

Taiwan, which lost its seat at the UN to China in 1971, has been blocked from attending UN events since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came to power in 2016 as part of an ongoing squeeze on its international space being orchestrated by the authorities in Beijing.

King Mswati III of eSwatini reiterated his country's "unwavering stance" and called on world leaders to give Taiwan the opportunity to be involved with the UN and related activities.

Kiribati President Taneti Maamau told the General Assembly that the UN theme for the next 12 months, which is dedicated to raising awareness of indigenous languages worldwide, would be irrelevant if Taiwan is omitted.

President Baron Waqa of Nauru said the UN must be relevant to all people and Taiwan should be treated equally with other nations.

While Palau's President Tommy Remengesau urged the UN to seek a solution to include Taiwan in all its processes, including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization.

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The Cabinet has approved a draft bill aimed at increasing fines for Chinese individuals or institutions that invest in Taiwan illegally.

The draft amendments to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area will now be sent to the legislature for ratification.

Under the amendments, any Chinese individual or company that invests in Taiwan illegally will now face a fine of up to NT$25 million (US$820,000), substantially higher than the existing NT$600,000 threshold.

Any enterprise legally allowed to invest in Taiwan, but which violates the provisions of the rules could face a fine of up to NT$2.5 million.

A provision has also been added to punish any company that evades, impedes or refuses to be inspected by authorities.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG

Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Thursday that he has put forward an idea for Taiwan to become a research and development base for Facebook.

According to the minister, he made the proposal during a meeting with Facebook's Vice President Dan Neary, who is visiting Taiwan this week.

Chen said he believes Taiwan is ready to welcome foreign investments such as Facebook.

Facebook earlier this month announced plans to establish its first Asia-Pacific data center in Singapore, leading to speculation that Taiwan was also being considered as a possible location for further expansion.

However, the head of the company's Taiwan and Hong Kong operations says there are "complexities surrounding such a decision."

However, Facebook is planning to expand it operations here in Taiwan as it looks to help local businesses better navigate the global market and cultivate digi-tech talent.

According to the Facebook vice president, the company will pour more resources into Taiwan in a bid to make the county's industries more digitally competitive.

The fresh investment is part of Facebook's "Made by Taiwan" program.

Facebook currently provides marketing courses about how to effectively use Facebook to build business for the international market.

And the project it will expand from next year to include nine new programs.

Facebook claims to have 19 million users in Taiwan.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday that any global sustainability plans must include Taiwan.

Speaking in Taipei at the International Conference on Achieving Sustainability in Asia-Pacific, Tsai said her administration is actively working to on sustainable development goals that will not only help Taiwan, but which can also be applied to other countries.

According to Tsai, Taiwan is tacking steps to helping the international community tackle climate change and she firmly believes that environmental problems are not governed by borders and boundaries.

The conference was organized by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) and Radio Taiwan International and is the AIB's first annual event in Taiwan.

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The central bank has raised its forecast for GDP growth this year to 2.73 percent.

The forecast is 0.05 percentage points higher than an earlier estimate made in June.

According to the bank, growth will most likely be driven by increases in domestic consumption as a result of stable employment, rising wages and the expansion of private and public investment.

However, the bank is warning that uncertainty about the global economy due to trade friction between the United States and China is expected to weigh on economic momentum in the latter part of this year and into next year.

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China Airlines and EVA Airways have canceled all flights to Okinawa today due to Typhoon Trami, which is heading towards southern Japan.

Tigerair Taiwan has move forward the departure times of several of its morning flights, but later flights have been canceled.

Peach Aviation has canceled most of its flights to Okinawa today and tomorrow.

Typhoon Trami is expected to be closest to Taiwan from this afternoon and into tomorrow morning and the Central Weather Bureau is warning of heavy or extremely heavy rain in northern and northeastern parts of the islands.

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The Shilin District Court has dismissed charges of damaging public property levied against two Taiwan independence advocates who attempted to cut the head a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek.

The incident occurred at in Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei in June of last year.

Prosecutors had charged 67-year-old Kuo Chih-kang (郭志剛) and 23-year-old Lin Ting-ying (林廷穎) with damaging public property after they used an arc torch cutter in an attempt to remove the statue's head.

The court acquitted both defendants of all charges on a legal technicality, after it ruled the statue was in fact not public property and not managed by a government agency.

Kuo has claimed to be the head of a group known as the "Taiwan Independence Revolutionary Army" and has boasted of destroying six statues of Chiang Kai-shek.

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A Taiwanese national has been arrested in Thailand on charges of drug smuggling after being picked up carrying 355 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The Investigation Bureau saidthe suspect was detained in Pattaya as part of joint investigation by law enforcement agencies from both countries.

The man was tracked down to house he was renting in Pattaya, following a tip-off by Taiwanese officials stationed in Thailand.

He was picked up shortly after he allegedly transported the drugs to the house.

Authorities say the drugs were smuggled into Thailand from Myanmar.

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An affiliate of Yulon Motor and Acer has unveiled its first Level 4 autonomous concept vehicle.

The vehicle has been developed by the Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center.

Yulon said the vehicle integrates core technologies such as data analysis and management geared towards Taiwan's road networks.

According to the automaker, the concept vehicle is designed based on an open source platform, providing companies interested in entering the field of autonomous driving vehicles with easier access to the research and development ecosystem behind the vehicle.

A Level 4 automated vehicle is defined as High Automation, meaning the automated driving system can be activated even if a human driver fails to respond appropriately to a request to intervene.

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A new option that allows travelers to pick up high speed train tickets at convenience stores is available through the existing High Speed Rail Corporation app, T-Express.

The new feature enables passengers to make online reservations using a mobile phone.

Users can use the barcode they receive after making an online booking via T-Express to pay at a convenience store and pick up their tickets at the same time.

However, the service is currently only available at 7-Eleven stores. Other partnering chain stores will be announced at a later date.

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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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