Taiwan News: US Urges Taiwan to Boost Defense, Stays Mum on New Arms Deal

Taiwan News: US Urges Taiwan to Boost Defense, Stays Mum on New Arms Deal
Credit: Reuters / Tyrone Siu

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

Taiwan Deputy Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung (張冠群), speaking at the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Maryland, said Taiwan's national defense will be built on a "dual-development platform" that focuses on the development of indigenous systems and foreign arms sales.

The statement comes after U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers announced that Washington will likely approve another round of arms sales to Taiwan by the end of this year.

However, Hammond-Chambers is playing down the significance of that comment, saying his prediction is "not based on hard evidence" that Washington could announce such a sale in the coming couple of months.

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Credit: Reuters / Tyrone Siu
UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters take part in the June 7, 2018 Han Kuang military drill simulating China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading Taiwan.

Chang said Taiwan is moving towards a self-reliant defense, but will still seek the participation of foreign companies to "develop sub-systems and critical modules through market mechanisms."

According to Chang, even though Taiwan has faced "painful lessons" in foreign military acquisitions because of diplomatic obstacles, demand for cooperation with international companies has now become more diverse and provides more opportunities.

David Helvey, the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said at the conference that Taiwan must modernize its defense and "provide the critical material, manning and training needed to deter, or if necessary defeat, a cross-Strait invasion," according to the South China Morning Post.

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U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said Washington will continue to advocate for free navigation through international waters, including those in the Taiwan Strait.

The statement comes a week after the U.S. Navy sent two warships through the strait.

Speaking at a press conference in the Philippines, Richardson said parts of the Taiwan Strait are international waters and as such the United States and the United States Navy will continue to advocate for free navigation through those waters.

Richardson also said the U.S. Navy will keep pressing for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and elsewhere and will continue to communicate with China on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.

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Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) described the death of renowned Chinese martial arts novelist Louis Cha (查良鏞) as "a great loss to the literary world."

Cha was better known by his pen name of Jin Yong and died earlier this week at the age of 94 at a hospital in Hong Kong.

According to Lin, his works will always be among the most important in the Chinese martial arts genre (known as wuxia) and have been a major source of countless television series and movies for decades.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Louis Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, holds his book 'Book and Sword, Gratitude and Revenge' at his office in Hong Kong on July 29, 2002. Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was reportedly an avid reader of his books.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) also paid tribute to the writer, saying he was "shocked to hear that the grandmaster had died" and went on to express his deepest condolences to Cha's family.

Cha was born in 1924 in Haining, in China's Zhejiang Province, and moved to Hong Kong in 1948.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a series of regulations clarifying the role of its overseas missions.

Ministry Secretary-General James Lee (李光章) said the report defines in what sort of emergencies Taiwan's overseas offices will assist Republic of China (ROC) passport holders living or traveling abroad.

According to Lee, consular officials can "only offer" emergency help to nationals who face a medical emergency; are the victims of major crimes; those who need legal assistance if they are arrested or detained; and "life-threatening" emergencies.

Lee says large numbers of Taiwanese who travel overseas have been misusing an emergency hotline and of the 130,000 emergency phone calls made to the hotline in 2017, fewer than 6,000 were emergency incidents.

The official also says all phone calls to the emergency hotlines will now be recorded to protect the rights of consular officials and citizens and a committee will be established to handle disputes involving overseas office's assistance.

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A Taiwanese exchange student detained in the U.S. on firearms charges will be sentenced on November 19.

Sun An-tso's (孫安佐) hearing was originally slated for December 11. However, a statement by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania says the case is being brought forward at the request of Sun's lawyer.

Sun pleaded guilty to terroristic threats in June after telling classmates he planned a mass shooting, but he is now facing additional federal charges of possessing ammunition while on a non-immigrant visa.

The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of a US$250,000 (NT$7.73 million) and three years of supervised parole.

If the teenager waives his right to appeal, he could be deported back to Taiwan on completion of his sentence and be barred from ever entering the U.S. again.

Sun has been detained since his arrest in March.

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Credit:6abc Action News螢幕截圖
Read Next: OPINION: Sun An-tso’s School Shooting Threat Is No Joke

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The Public Television Service will host and air the Taipei mayoral election debate on November 10.

All five candidates in the election will be participating in the live televised debate, which will be moderated by Chen Hsin-tsung, the producer and host of the PTS program 'News Talk.'

The network said the debate will begin at 1 p.m. Each candidate will make an opening statement, after which they will engage in a cross-questioning session among themselves.

The debate will run for just over two hours and the candidates will each give a closing statement.

Independent candidate Li Hsi-kun (李錫錕) will speak first, followed by independent incumbent Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Pasuya Yao (姚文智) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) of the Kuomintang (KMT), and independent candidate Wu E-yang (吳萼洋).

Each candidate is being allowed to invite to 15 supporters to be part of the studio audience.

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More than 85 percent of children and young people here in Taiwan use cellphones and they spend more time on mobile devices than on exercise, according to a survey by a non-profit organization that focuses on Internet safety for young people.

The survey by Cyber Angel's Pick was conducted among students from Grade 3 to junior year in university.

It found respondents said they spend 26 hours a week on average on their mobile phones, 24 hours surfing the Internet, and 13 hours watching television.

Respondents said they only spend about 8 hours doing exercise.

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Credit: CC0
Young Taiwanese spend far more time on their phones than they do exercising.

A multiple choice segment of the poll also showed that students go online mainly to watch movies, listen to music, visit social media sites, and play games.

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United Microelectronics (UMC) said it will continue to cooperate with China's Jinhua Integrated Circuit despite a U.S. decision to impose restrictions in exports to the Chinese company.

The statement comes after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it has taken action to restrict technology exports to the Jinhua.

Officials in the U.S. say Washington believes the company "poses a significant risk of becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security interests of the United States." However, UMC said the restrictions on Jinhua will not affect its partnership with the company.

U.S. memory chip maker Micron Technology filed a lawsuit against both UMC and Jinhua in December of last year, accusing them of stealing its chip designs. That lawsuit remains under way in a California court.

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Chiayi City tops a list of the most elderly friendly places here in Taiwan.

According to an evaluation of living environments for senior citizens, Taipei City and Hualien County were ranked second and third most friendly to those aged 65 and older.

Yunlin County, Miaoli County and Taichung took the three bottom places among the 17 cities and counties assessed in the 2018 Index of City and County Development for Seniors.

The report was compiled by the Taiwan Active Aging Association.

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Credit: Huang Weiwei / CC BY-SA 3.0
Chiayi City: Taiwan's friendliest for elderly residents, according to a survey.

The association says Chiayi City secured the top ranking due to its healthcare and social services for the elderly, while Taipei won high scores for its convenient public transport. Hualien County also scored highly due to its large number of public spaces and sports facilities.

Tainan City, Hsinchu County, Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu were not covered in the evaluation due to insufficient government data.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said 12 new cases of indigenous dengue fever have been reported in Taichung, bringing the total number in the city so far this year to 101.

The patients are from the city's Taiping, Beitun, Dali, Wufeng and Xitun districts.

Five of the patients are currently being treated at local hospitals, while seven other have since been released and allowed to returned home following treatment.

The CDC says "none of the new cases" are part of a cluster infection.

A total of 169 cases of indigenous dengue fever cases had been reported islandwide so far this year, most of them in Taichung.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), speaking to a visiting delegation of overseas Taiwanese from the U.S., said she believes stable ties between Taiwan and the U.S. are key to maintaining democracy, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Tsai told the delegation they, themselves, also play a major role in helping to promote Taiwan and its valuable place in the Indo-Pacific partner ship in the U.S.

She added that ties between Taipei and Washington have grown closer since she took office and that relationship is a cornerstone to supporting regional security and stability.

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Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said the government is committed to working with like-minded countries to solve global health challenges, including the fight against infectious diseases.

Chen made the statement during a meeting with a visiting delegation led by the son of late Italian physician Carlo Urbani.

According to the Vice President, Taiwan is a responsible member of the international community and willing to contribute funds, medical expertise and technology to enhance health security around the world.

Chen also touted Taiwan's collaboration with the United States through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework to hold workshops on the prevention of epidemics such as dengue fever, Ebola and Zika.

Urbani was the World Health Organization officer who identified the SARS virus in February of 2003. He later became infected with the virus while treating SARS patients, and died in Bangkok in March of 2003 at the age of 46.

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Acer founder Stan Shih (施振榮) is calling for closer business cooperation between Taiwan and Japan, in particular in the field of emerging technologies.

Speaking in Taipei at a forum hosted by the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shinbun, Shih said that such cooperation would be mutually beneficial.

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Credit: Reuters / Pichi Chuang
Acer founder and honorary chairman Stan Shih delivers a speech during the 2015 Computex exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, June 3, 2015.

Shih cited self-drive vehicle technology development as such an example, saying while Japanese companies devote themselves to main systems for the new technology, Taiwanese firms can develop sub-systems and critical components for the new business.

According to Shih, Japanese firms boast high product quality and have competitive core technology, while Taiwanese firms have taken the lead in information and telecommunications know-how and general flexibility in business operations.

The Acer founder says he believes closer cooperation will allow Japan's small and medium-sized enterprises to learn from their Taiwanese counterparts in terms of internationalization.

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EVA Airways says it will begin codesharing with Panama's flag carrier Copa Airlines on November 4 in order to help boost travel between Taiwan and Panama.

Under the codeshare program, outbound Copa passengers from Panama City can take EVA-operated flights to Taipei by transiting in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago or New York. EVA passengers from Taiwan can connect through these same cities to fly Copa to Panama City.

EVA Air says the codeshare services will give passengers the convenience and flexibility of more than 40 flights a week between Taoyuan and Panama City and bolster the flight networks of EVA and Copa, which are both members of the Star Alliance.

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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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