Taiwan News: China Cyber Attacks Intensify, Tsai Calls for Democratic Unity

Taiwan News: China Cyber Attacks Intensify, Tsai Calls for Democratic Unity
Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
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Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang said Monday that information security is part of national security and is a key priority for the government.

According to Huang, the government has been focusing on the country's capabilities in the field of information security since President Tsai Ing-wen took office.

The statement follows publication of a report by the Financial Times that said the number of so-called "high-impact incidents", or those that target stealing sensitive government data or personal information, tripled between 2015 and 2017. The report also quoted a senior cyber security analyst as saying that malware originating from China is often first tested on Taiwan.

The intensification is part of concerted efforts by Beijing to pressure Taiwan's government since Tsai's election in 2016.

The report quoted a senior cyber security official as saying that the rise in cyber warfare is part of a hardening of Beijing's approach toward Taiwan.

The Presidential Office spokesman said the National Security Council and the Department of Cyber Security plan to create a mechanism that ensures information security at the national level.

And the two bodies will establish an information security team to safeguard the country's cyber safety, and to promote the development of information security technology for both national defense and commercial purposes.

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Photo Credit: Taiwan Foundation for Democracy

President Tsai Ing-wen says her administration is urging like-minded countries to take action against anti-democratic forces that have put democracy at the risk of regression.

Speaking at the opening of the "Global Solidarity of Democracy in Taiwan" forum in Taipei, Tsai said historical trends do not always favor the smooth progress of democracy, but in Taiwan, moving backward is not an option.

Tsai said Taiwan is now one of the world's most vibrant democracies, and has among the freest media's in Asia, though there is room for improvement and she will seek to address the challenges still facing Taiwan and other democracies.

The forum was attended by guests from pro-democracy organizations from Tunisia, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States, and discussed issues including the threat posed to democracies on globally and in Asia specifically.

The event marked the 15th anniversary of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a government-funded institution aimed at promoting democracy around the world.

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A petrochemical factory is seen in Taiwan's northern Taoyuan county
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Lawmakers have passed the third reading of amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act.

The bill gives the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) more power to tackle air pollution and was passed after opposition lawmakers demanded that air pollution regulatory issues be handled solely by the EPA and not by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The amendments allow emission allowances to be obtained for factories or other stationary sources of air pollution and to reduce emissions from mobile sources.

And the bill also lays out guidelines for weather-related air pollution control measures and means factories that fail to take action to stem pollution levels now face a fine of up to NT$20 million (US$658,000).

Public and private premises are also now targeted in the bill and they face fines of up to NT$1 million if they fail to adopt emergency control measures during certain weather conditions.

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Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang says Taiwan is willing and has a responsibility to help countries in need in terms of health and medical care, despite bullying by China.

According to Huang, Taiwan is committed to continuing helping its diplomatic allies and cooperating with other like-minded countries on issues concerning global medical assistance, humanitarian relief and cross-border disease prevention.

The statement comes after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Taiwan has been providing medical treatment for seriously ill refugees being held at an Australian immigration center on Nauru.

The refugees were sent to Taiwan by the Australian government under a memorandum of understanding signed with Taiwan last September to provide medical treatment for asylum seekers.

Foreign ministry spokesman Andrew Lee said that the agreement states the two signatory parties should follow international human rights standards to ensure that the people involved receive dignified treatment and proper medical care.

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The Council of Agriculture (CoA) is set to remove Formosan macaques from from the list of protected species.

The move comes amid an surge in complaints from farmers, especially those in the south, about the macaques damaging crops.

However, the council says the decision to remove macaques from the list was unrelated to agricultural losses.

And Forestry Bureau Director-General Lin Hua-qing says crop lose due to the primates encroaching on farmland is another issue and his office opted to remove macaques from the list based on concern over the primates living conditions and their distribution.

The CoA has also removed seven other animals from its list of protected species, which along with macaques have now been reclassified as general wildlife. Seventeen species have been added to the protected species list.

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Police in Taipei investigating the Huashan Grassland murder say they have found more body parts belonging to the 30-year-old woman who was killed and disremembered by her archery teacher.

According to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, the woman's breasts were found inside a refrigerator at the home of Chen Bo-qian in Taipei's Datong District. Police had previously found the rest of the woman's remains in seven bags dumped in various places on Yangmingshan mountain.

Chen's estranged wife has been questioned by police again as part of part of the investigation, but she is continuing to deny any involvement in the killing. She remains free on bail.

While Chen remains detained as police and prosecutors continue their investigation into the murder.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / 達志影像
Fossil fuel-powered vehicles are here for the foreseeable future.

The EPA is denying reports the government is seeking to phase out all fossil fuel vehicles by 2030.

Administration officials say the Cabinet has proposed making public buses and government vehicles all-electric by 2030 and to ban the sale of new gas-powered motorcycles by 2035 and cars with internal combustion engines by 2040.

The statement follows claims being made on the internet by netizens who have been reporting the government plans an all-out ban on existing fossil fuel vehicles by 2030.

However, according to the government, the proposed plan would only apply to the sale of new scooters and vehicles and will not affect vehicles already on the road when bans on sales of gasoline-powered scooters and cars take effect.

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American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy says the United States and Taiwan could be partners in shaping an inclusive digital future for all.

According to Moy, the U.S .and Taiwan have been close partners on technological cooperation and have been working to bring the economic relationship into the digital age.

Speaking at the Symposium on Social Innovation and Digital Transformation in Taipei, Moy said efforts have focused on the business and startup side of cooperation, but both sides are now expanding their collaboration into the field of new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and how they will transform societies.

Moy made the comments at the opening of a symposium on artificial intelligence in Taipei.

The event was also attend by Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang - who told delegates that artificial intelligence could be used as an innovative approach by the government to enhance dialogue between different parties in finding mutually acceptable solutions.

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Seventeen hospitals have launched an association to jointly explore the healthcare market in countries targeted by the government's New Southbound Policy.

The association includes the National Taiwan University Hospital, the Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, the Taipei Veterans General Hospital and the Mackay Memorial Hospital.

According to the head of the health ministry's Department of Medical Affairs, the initiative centers on the government's "one center, one country plan."

That plan was unveiled earlier this month, and outlined how six Taiwan medical centers or large hospitals have been chosen to set up partnerships with India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand and help build medical exchanges.

Each hospital will gauge demand for medical services in the country it is partnered with, train medical workers, provide health consulting services, and help build an environment conducive to good medical care.

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The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says President Tsai Ing-wen is showing "her greatest goodwill to Beijing" by voicing her willingness to meet with China's President Xi Jinping.

According to DPP caucus whip Ho Xin-chun, Tsai's offer to meet with Xi is proof of her commitment to ensuring stability in the Taiwan Strait, even though she still believes such a meeting should not come with political conditions attached.

The statement comes after Tsai was interviewed by AFP on Monday, during which she said there is still a chance for the two sides to sit down and talk despite escalating tensions, while reiterating her calls for democratic nations to stand up to China.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je is playing down reports that DPP support for his re-election bid was quashed by certain factions within the party.

Reports are claiming that President Tsai Ing-wen was seeking to back Ko's re-election, but such a move met with strong opposition from the so-called "empress" and a "prince."

The "empress" refers to Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu while the "prince" is in reference to the DPP's former New Tide faction, which advocated for Taiwan's independence from China.

The claims surfaced after the Taipei mayor met with former legislative speaker, Wang Jin-ping. Speaking to reporters, Ko said he met with Wang for a "private conversation" and reports about that meeting have been "exaggerated."

While Wang has admitted to meeting with Ko, but is refusing to say what topics they discussed and has told local media only that "it is not appropriate" for him to explain what issues were touched on during the meeting.

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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