Taiwan News: Taiwanese-Americans Win US Seats, AIT Pledges US Support

Taiwan News: Taiwanese-Americans Win US Seats, AIT Pledges US Support
US Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) | Credit: Reuters / Mike Segar
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Three Taiwanese-Americans won electoral races in New York, including former New York City comptroller John Liu (劉醇逸), who will become New York's first Taiwan-born state senator.

U.S. Representative Grace Meng (孟昭文) easily won her fourth term serving New York's 6th congressional district, winning 91 percent of the vote to secure re-election to the House of Representatives.

Taipei-born Niou Yuh-line (牛毓琳) also won re-election to her seat in the New York State Assembly.

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said the results of the United States midterm elections would not affect the country's policy towards Taiwan.

During a seminar on the topic of U.S.-Taiwan relations at National Tsing Hua University yesterday, the AIT official affirmed Taiwan's role in its "Indo-Pacific strategy" of economies free from outside coercion.

Moriarty said both the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties recognize China's rising threat, hence established U.S. policy toward Taiwan should not be affected by the results of the mid-term elections.

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Credit: Depositphotos

Read More: What Do the US Midterm Elections Mean for Relations With Taiwan?

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) voiced grave concern about a Taiwanese team's disqualification in a qualifying round at the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2019 e-game tournament.

MoFA urged the organizer, German-based Turtle Entertainment, not to deprive the team of its right to play in the event due to the political stance of a specific country.

The Taiwanese team, named Sad Story, was disqualified by the organizer despite a first round 16-1 victory over Japanese team Friendly Welcome in a "Counter Strike: Global Offensive" match because they played in the Southeast Asia qualifier.

Organizers said they should have played in the China qualifier.

The team was disqualified after being notified that "Taiwan does not belong to any region recognized by the tournament authorities".

Taiwan is not listed in any of Asia's sub-regions in the tournament rules, but the rulebook states if the country is not listed, the team should then seek clarification from administration as to which qualifier they should compete in.

The organizers noted that they use the United Nations list of countries as a measure for determining countries and regions. Taiwan is not a UN member.

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The former Department of Sports Commissioner said a petition calling for a national referendum on whether the national team should compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" shall go ahead as planned Nov. 24.

Yang Jong-her (楊忠和), the referendum convener, said in a national referendum public forum that the name Chinese Taipei fails to represent the country and should be changed to Taiwan.

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Credit: Team Taiwan Facebook
Boxes of petition books submitted to the Central Election Commission by the Team Taiwan campaign. Read More: Taiwan's Referendum Act, Explained: What Can We Expect on Nov. 24?

Yang claimed that Taiwan will not be punished by the International Olympic Committee as a result of the referendum and that Taiwanese athletes will not be affected.

The former commissioner added that the term Chinese Taipei is confusing, since it reflects neither the territories nor the traditions of Taiwan, and he asked for the public to vote in favor of the referendum, saying that this will protect the dignity of Taiwanese athletes.

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Officials said a Taiwanese fishing boat was shot at by pirates in waters near Somalia in the Indian Ocean early Wednesday.

The boat managed to flee the scene, with all the crew reported safe.

The Taiwan Tuna Longline Association reported the attack on its social media, posting that the pirates fired at the Taiwan-registered tuna boat CT6 at around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The post said the ship was making away from the area and warned all fishing boats operating in the Indian Ocean to be aware of pirates and to avoid waters close to Somalia.

The owner of the attacked boat confirmed that CT6 managed to escape with no damage and no injuries to the crew.

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Taiwan has dropped eight notches in a global ranking of English proficiency.

The 2018 English Proficiency Index, compiled by private education company Education First, ranked Taiwan 48th among 88 countries and regions around the world.

Taiwan's English proficiency was evaluated as "basic", ranking 10th in Asia, where 21 countries and regions were included in the index.

Sweden topped the rankings for English proficiency, followed by the Netherlands and Singapore.

The score is based on the average level of English language skills amongst those aged 18 or older who take EF English tests.

The latest index covers 1.3 million people from 88 countries and regions where English is learned as a second language.

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Read More: CARTOON: English as a Second Language – Hao or Nga'ay?

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The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) will soon be mandated to investigate railway, road and marine accidents.

Chairman Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智) spoke about the change, set to take effect in 2019, at a legislative session yesterday.

He noted that while 45 percent of the accident fatalities in Taiwan each year are traffic-related, only aviation accidents are investigated by an independent authority, while the others are left to prosecutors and the transportation ministry

Starting in 2019, however, the ASC will be expanded to take over the investigation of marine accidents and fatal railway and road accidents.

Young said a detailed plan for the expansion of the ASC has already been submitted to the Cabinet and includes a proposal to increase the staff from 23 to about 100.

The change is a result of a directive issued by Premier William Lai (賴清德) in the wake of a deadly train crash last month that left 18 people dead and 200 injured.

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Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Wednesday said if Taiwan wants to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, it cannot reject the "1992 consensus," which allows each side their own interpretation of "one China."

Ma was speaking at a symposium on cross-strait relations, on the third anniversary of his historic meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore on Nov. 7, 2015.

He noted that at the Singapore meeting, the first between leaders of Taiwan and China since 1949, they jointly endorsed the "1992 consensus."

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Credit: Reuters / Edgar Su
Ma Ying-jeou (L) shakes hands with Xi Jinping (R) during a summit in Singapore on Nov. 7, 2015.

However, according to Ma, if the current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration does not accept the "1992 consensus," it would mean Taiwan's unilateral abolition of the consensus, which could lead to the loss of mutual trust between the two sides.

As a result, said Ma, cross-strait relations could deteriorate, official interactions between the two sides could be halted completely and Taiwan could suffer adverse effects on the economic, political and diplomatic fronts.

He said the "1992 consensus" is vital to the development of cross-strait ties and if the government does not recognize the consensus, the status quo is not likely to be maintained.

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Taiwan's exports rose for an eighth consecutive month on an annual basis in October because of continued solid global demand.

Figures from the Ministry of Finance shows Taiwan's October exports rose 7.3 percent from a year earlier to US$29.57 billion (NT$908.46 billion).

In addition to the launch of new gadgets by international brands in October, Taiwan's outbound sales were also boosted by more working days during the month this year than last year.

October was the eighth consecutive month and 24th in 25 months in which exports grew on an annual basis.

The only month in which exports posted a decline during that period was February 2018, when exports fell 1.2 percent year-on-year because of a reduced number of business days caused by a long Lunar New Year holiday.

Looking ahead, Taiwan's exports for November should stay little changed from year earlier or rise by up to 2 percent due to a relatively high comparison base last year.

Meanwhile, imports rose 17.6 percent from a year earlier to US$26.21 billion (NT$805.24 billion) in October, leaving a trade surplus of US$3.36 billion (NT$103.22 billion).

That figure is down 36.2 percent year-on-year.

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Taiwan's Chung Chia-chun (鍾家駿) has won the Award for Best Young Actor at the Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus.

The 14-year-old star of the movie "Long Time No Sea", is the youngest actor to have won that award at the festival.

The movie directed by Heather Tsui (崔永徽) was filmed on Orchid Island, home to the Tao aboriginal tribe, of which Chung is a member.

The film premiered internationally at the Tokyo International Film Festival that was held Oct. 25th to Nov. 3rd.

Chung has also been nominated for the best new performer award at the 2018 Golden Horse Film Festival that is scheduled for Nov. 17th in Taipei.

Read Next: Taiwan's Fishing Captains Protest in Defense of Embattled Industry

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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