The United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday which asks the U.S. Secretary of State to support Taiwan’s quest to regain observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Bill H.R. 353, which was passed without objection, was introduced by U.S. Representative Ted Yoho and cosponsored by representatives Steve Chabot, Eliot Engel, Michael McCaul and Brian Fitzpatrick. It would direct the Secretary of State to include Washington’s efforts to assist Taipei in being able to participate in the WHO’s World Health Assembly (WHA) in an annual year-end report, the Taipei Times reports.

“Taiwan remains a model contributor to world health, having provided financial and technical assistance to respond to numerous global health challenges,” the bill states, noting that Taiwan has not received an invitation to the WHA since 2016 due to increased pressure from Beijing. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Presidential Office thanked the U.S. for the passage of the bill, which will now move on to the Senate.

Google to launch Taiwan clean energy project

Google says it has chosen Taiwan as the site of its first clean energy project in Asia.

The corporate behemoth announced it had agreed to purchase the output of a 10-megawatt solar array in Tainan in a collaboration between Google, the Taiwanese government and Taiwan energy companies Diode Ventures, Taiyen Green Energy, J&V Energy and New Green Power.

The array will be connected to the regional power grid servicing Google’s data center in Changhua County, about 100 kilometers away, the company said on Tuesday.

Google applauded Taiwan’s “policy landscape offering a clear path to cost-effective renewable power procurement.” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have prioritized the development of affordable renewable energy and previously committed to phasing out nuclear power by 2025 until that policy was quashed in a November referendum.


Credit: Reuters / Pichi Chuang

A man walks past a TV wall during a media tour at the Google data center in Changhua Coastal Industrial Park on Dec. 11, 2013.

Chinese military flies planes close to Taiwan

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said yesterday it had scrambled planes and warships in response to a patrol flight by several Chinese aircraft, including a Su-30 fighter jet and a Y-8 surveillance plane, the South China Morning Post reports.

The aircraft flew through the Bashi Channel between the Philippines and Taiwan’s Orchid Island before returning to their base in the south of China, the ministry said.

The ministry urged Taiwanese citizens not to panic over the long-distance drill, the latest in a series of regular Chinese patrol exercises which have escalated since Tsai Ing-wen’s election in 2016.


國會無雙 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Taiwan Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chun.

Other news from Taiwan:

► Retired singer Cheng Hui-chung (鄭惠中) apologized yesterday for slapping culture minister Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) on Tuesday over her views on the legacy of former authoritarian leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石). (Taipei Times)

► DPP spokesperson Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) slammed Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) recent metaphor comparing Taiwan-U.S.-China relations to a bank robber who fails to notice he is surrounded by police. (Storm Media)

► Time for a new constitution in Taiwan? Former Premier William Lai (賴清德) thinks so, saying Wednesday the country’s existing constitution has become outdated. (CNA)

► Taiwan’s National Palace Museum will send some of its most treasured pieces to be exhibited in Sydney, Australia starting next month. (Taipei Times)

► President Tsai said buying Taiwan Lottery scratch cards “really helps public welfare.” She bought several tickets herself, winning NT$100 (US$3.24). (CNA)

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Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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