Taiwan News: US Congressman Urges Taiwan Recognition, Tsai Placates on Pensions

Taiwan News: US Congressman Urges Taiwan Recognition, Tsai Placates on Pensions
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U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has submitted a resolution to the House Foreign Affairs Committee urging Washington resume formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The resolution said President Donald Trump should abandon the fundamentally flawed "one China" policy in favor of a more realistic "one China, one Taiwan" policy that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign country.

According to Rohrabacher, Washington's "one China" policy is "effectively obsolete" and "does not reflect the reality that Taiwan has been an independent country for over half a century" and is a responsible member of the international community.

The "one China" policy is distinct from the "one China" principle insisted upon by the Communist Party of China, which demands that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and should be governed from Beijing.

The Republican lawmakers from California said China has used the "one China" policy to block Taiwan's membership in international organizations and the U.S. should now "aggressively" support Taiwan's full participation in the United Nations.

The government here has yet to respond to the proposal, which is sure to rile Beijing. The deputy director-general of the foreign office's Department of North American Affairs said only that any friendly moves made by friends in the U.S. are welcomed by Taiwan's government.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979.

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President Tsai Ing-wen has apologized for the negative impact of reforms to the military pension system after Wednesday's successful passage of the reform bill through the Legislative Yuan, but said urgent reform to pre-existing retirement plans was needed.

Speaking to reporters, Tsai said the country's pension systems are in danger of defaulting and most civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel understand the need for financial sustainability of the state pension system.

Tsai also said she was grateful to public sector employees and hopes the conflict and division caused by the reforms over the past two years will soon come to an end.

The Cabinet has stated the bill will go into effect July 1 in tandem with new pension systems for retired civil servants and public school teachers.

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Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong will visit Washington in mid-July.

According to council spokesman Qiu Chui-cheng, details of the trip are still being finalized.

However, Chen is reportedly slated to deliver a speech at the Heritage Foundation, hold talks with senior White House and government officials and and meet with several U.S. senators.

Chen will be the first Mainland Affairs Council minister to visit Washington since the Tsai administration took office in May of 2016.

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Photo Credit: 120草原自治區 Grassroots / Facebook

The Unregulated Masses arts group is being evicted from the Huashan Grassland. Members of the group are now dismantling art installations and the small tent-city that sprung-up at the site in Taipei adjacent to the Huashan Creative Park.

The eviction of the art group comes after police stepped-up patrols of the area amid allegations Unregulated Masses violated the conditions of its application to use the land.

The Taipei City government had allowed the group to use of the site for arts and cultural events since February, but it suspended all activities there earlier this week.

The murder and dismemberment of a 30-year old woman by archery instructor Chen Bo-qian, an illegal party on an adjacent plot of land owned by the Taiwan Railways Administration and complaints from nearby residents have led to close scrutiny of the group's activities.

There have also been allegations the arts group received a subsidy of NT$450,000 (US$14,800) from the city government.

Several Taipei City Councilors are calling for an investigation into the group and its activities.

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Premier William Lai has said certain areas of education need to be stepped-up in order to deter repeats of three recent high-profile murder cases involving the dismemberment of female victims.

According to Lai, anger management resources should be made more readily available and colleges and universities should reinforce the need for gender equality in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Lai also said he will meet with officials from the Ministry of Education and local governments to discuss the issue.

The statement comes after police have arrested three men for separate murders over the past three weeks, all of whom have been accused of killing and then dismembering their female victims.

The three brutal murders occurred in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan.

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Acting deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of State, Laura Stone said Taiwan's participation at the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit is proof of the close economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Stone made the remarks at a reception on the first day of the three-day event in Washington.

According to the U.S. official, much has been done to advance U.S. Taiwan ties over the past year, such as the recent opening of the new American Institute in Taiwan office in Taipei and ROC passports becoming eligible for the U.S. Global Entry program, which allows expedited customs clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.

Taiwan's delegation to the summit is being led Minister without Portfolio John Deng, who has said the trip will help participants make connections, better understand incentives being offered by different states and explore investment opportunities.

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The central bank is leaving its key interest rates unchanged with a view to fostering a more sustained economic recovery.

The discount rate will remain at 1.375 percent, the rate on accommodations with collateral at 1.75 percent, and the rate on accommodations without collateral at 3.625 percent.

It is the eighth consecutive quarter that the bank has left interest rates unchanged, a move expected by market analysts, who said that momentum is not yet strong enough for the central bank to raise interest rates as the domestic economy is continuing to recover.

Some financial experts are predicting the bank will raise interest rates in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Central Bank Governor Yang Chin-long said he did not expect the flickering U.S.-China trade war to have a major impact on Taiwan's economy. Meanwhile, Thursday data also showed Taiwan's May export orders grew a better-than-expected 11.7 percent, led by strong demand from China.

The central bank also revised up its forecast for full-year growth to 2.68 percent from 2.58 percent forecast in March.

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Photo credit: Reuters / 達志影像
Former Central Bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (L) and new Central Bank Governor Yang Chin-long (R) attend the inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan February 26, 2018.

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The Supreme Court On Thursday began hearing what will be the final case related to the long-running Radio Corp of America (RCA) industrial pollution scandal.

The hearing comes after the High Court ruled in October last year that the current owners of the defunct U.S. home appliance maker and two of its subsidiaries should pay 483 employees and their families NT$718 million in compensation.

The ruling blamed RCA for pollution at its Taoyuan plant, saying it was directly responsible for the deaths of some 200 employees and for over several hundred others developing cancer or related illnesses as a result of soil and groundwater pollution.

RCA employed thousands of people in Taiwan between 1970 and the closure of the Taoyuan site in 1992.

The Supreme Court's ruling on the case will be final and cannot be appealed.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Alejandro Esqueque works with a rescue team to find the members of his family at his house in the area affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 14, 2018.

The government is donating 1,000 tons of rice to Guatemala in support of ongoing disaster relief efforts there following the eruption of the Fuego volcano earlier this month.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the humanitarian aid is expected to arrive in the country by August.

Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu and Guatemala's Ambassador to Taiwan Olga Maria Aguja marked the donation with a ceremony in Taoyuan.

The donation comes after the government gave US$100,000 in emergency aid to the county last week.

And the government says it will continue to assist Guatemala by providing all necessary aid to those affected by the natural disaster.

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Former President Lee Teng-hui will travel to Japan today to attend the unveiling of a memorial to Taiwanese soldiers drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army who died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

Lee was invited to attend the event by the Japan-Taiwan Peace Foundation in Naha City.

He will spend four days in Japan, where he will be the guest of honor Saturday at a dinner hosted jointly by the foundation and the Friends of Lee Teng-Hui Association in Japan. Lee will attend the unveiling of the war memorial on Sunday. Lee is 95 and this will be his ninth visit to Japan since leaving office in 2000.

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Police in Keelung say they have broken-up a prostitution ring in the city following raids on three brothels.

Thirty-one suspects have been arrested, including 20 female sex workers, 17 of whom were from Thailand and had entered Taiwan on tourist visas.

According to police, two Taiwanese women who ran the brothels will be charged under Article 234 of Criminal Code.

And they are facing a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The 17 Thai nationals are being detained by the National Immigration Agency and will be deported back to their home country.

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