Taiwan News: Maria Aftermath, Cabinet Reshuffle Ahead?

Taiwan News: Maria Aftermath, Cabinet Reshuffle Ahead?
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Speculation about a pending Cabinet reshuffle is intensifying, with reports saying Premier William Lai will make an announcement next Monday.

The heads of at least four ministries are expected to be replaced. A new education minister will also be named, as that post has been vacant since Wu Maw-kuen stepped down in late May after only 41 days in office.

Although government officials are remaining tight-lipped about the reshuffle, reports are claiming the heads of the Ministry of the Interior, the Transport Ministry, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, and the Council of Agriculture will be replaced.

There is speculation that Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung will be appointed interior minister, while aboriginal lawmaker-at-large Kolas Yotaka will become the new Cabinet spokesperson.

Reports also say Deputy Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong will replace current Finance Minister Sheu Yu-jer, and Tsai Ching-hsiang, who currently serves as the director-general of the Investigation Bureau, will become justice minister. Current Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san could be appointed Presidential Office deputy secretary-general.


The New Taipei City government is defending its decision to declare a typhoon day on Wednesday, after Typhoon Maria skirted Taiwan’s north coast.

It was the first time in six years that Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung have not made the same decision on whether to close schools and offices on a typhoon day.

READ NEXT: Taiwan Spared Major Damage by Typhoon Maria

Deputy Mayor Lee Shu-chuan says weather conditions in some districts met the requirements for a cancellation and there was concern that strong winds and heavy rain remained a risk for commuters.

However, the decision to close schools and offices has been criticized by Keelung Mayor Lin You-chang, who says the move was political due to concerns that New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu could have come under fire for being out of the country when the storm hit.

Chu was in Singapore and only returned to Taiwan yesterday evening. He is denying charges the decision was political.

Keelung followed Taipei in not closing offices and schools.

The mixed calls led to confusion among many residents of the greater Taipei area as to whether they should go to work.

Labor officials were forced to clarify the issue, saying employees can take a typhoon day as long as one of either their place of residence, their place of work, or the place of their commute has called typhoon closures.


The Central Emergency Operation Center says eight people have been confirmed to have been injured as a result of Typhoon Maria skirting the north coast late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Citing Ministry of the Interior data, the center says seven men and one woman suffered minor injuries after falling off their motorbikes or bicycles, or from falling branches. Most of the injuries were reported in Taipei.

Figures also show that 59,485 households lost power across the island because of the storm.

A total of 3,438 people were evacuated from their homes before the storm as precautionary measures due to concerns about landslides and flooding.

The Council of Agriculture says initial estimates show farming loses due to the storm total NT$1.3 million. Most of the losses were reported in New Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu County.


Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will visit El Salvador and Belize over the coming five days as the government seeks to enhance exchanges with the two Central American allies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Wu will make the trip at the invitation of El Salvador Acting Foreign Minister Carlos Castaneda and Belize's Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington.

Wu is scheduled to meet El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and other senior government officials to exchange views on possible future projects. Wu will then visit Belize, where he will meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Senate President Lee Mark Chang and other politicians.

He is due to return to Taiwan on July 18.

Read Next: Taiwan's GDP Is Three Times Larger than Its Diplomatic Allies' Combined


Deputy Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua says she believes the ongoing trade war between the US and China will have limited impact on Taiwan.

The comments come after the US announced it plans to impose 10 percent tariffs on another US$200 billion in Chinese exports in September.

According to Wang, the Bureau of Foreign Trade has reviewed the new list and it is not expected to have much effect on Taiwan industries, as it does not cover the notebook computer and handset sectors. Those two products make up the bulk of US-bound goods manufactured by Taiwanese companies in China.

Wang says the nearly 200 items on the tariff list being targeted by the US include animal, plant, mining, chemical, metal, and textile products manufactured in China.

However, Wang says the government will closely monitor follow-up developments to determine how much the US measures impact the Chinese market, as that could hurt China-based Taiwanese suppliers.


Former Vice President Lien Chan will leave for a nine-day visit to Beijing today.

According to office of the former vice president, Lien is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Wang Yang on Friday.

Lien will also deliver a speech at a forum jointly hosted by a cross-strait peace foundation affiliated with his office and a research center that studies cross-strait relations.

Lien is heading a delegation of more than 50 people, including former vice premier and minister of foreign affairs John Chiang, former minister of education Wu Ching-ji, and New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming.

Lien's office says the former vice president hopes the visit will help improve cross-strait ties and boost development in Taiwan and China.


International experts on women's rights will meet in Taipei next week to review Taiwan's third report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

According to the government's Gender Equality Committee, the quadrennial review of Taiwan's compliance with the convention from between 2013 and 2016 is scheduled to take five days.

Taiwan signed the agreement in 2007 and a law was passed in 2011 aimed at bringing the island's rules and regulations into line with the convention.

As Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, its ratification of the accord is not recognized by the international body and Taiwan is not subject to the rule. However, both of Taiwan's initial and second reports, in 2009 and 2013, were still reviewed by international experts, who gave recommendations on how to promote gender equality.


The Taiwan High Court has upheld a four-year prison sentence for former Tainan City Council speaker Lee Chuan-chiao on charges of vote-buying.

The ruling comes after Lee appealed the court's initial verdict, which was made in August 2016 to the Supreme Court. That court had ordered the High Court to grant Lee a retrial.

Lee was elected Tainan City Council speaker following 2014's December local city elections. However, it was later revealed that he paid several city councilors NT$10 million each to vote for him.

Lee is continuing to deny any wrongdoing, despite prosecutors providing the court with testimony from numerous witnesses, including several city councilors. Speaking after Wednesday's hearing, Lee once again claimed he is the victim of political persecution.


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the second indigenous dengue fever case of this year.

The CDC says a student in New Taipei's Xinzhuang District was confirmed to have dengue virus type 2 infection earlier this week. He has now been hospitalized and remains in isolation.

Health officials say the patient did not travel overseas during the incubation period prior to the onset of the disease, but he visited his family in Kaohsiung before traveling to Taitung earlier this month. Health authorities are now tracing the possible source of the infection.

There have been 103 imported cases of dengue fever so far this year, the second-lowest during the same period between 2014 and 2018.


Jane Nishida, the principal deputy assistant administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency, is visiting Taiwan this week to promote US-Taiwan cooperation.

According to the American Institute in Taiwan, Nishida will meet with officials and students today to promote the International Environmental Partnership (IEP).

That agreement has seen the US and Taiwan jointly address issues such as environmental education, electronic waste management, and air pollution.

Nishida has visited Taiwan several times before to promote the IEP and launch other joint programs.

Read Next: AIT Director Moy Affirms US Commitment to Taiwan ahead of New Complex Opening


The Council of Indigenous People and seven universities are set to launch teacher training courses to certify at least 210 teachers of languages of indigenous tribes.

According to the council, the move comes amid ongoing concern about the decline in the native language skills of indigenous people, especially among younger generations.

And council officials say that makes it imperative for the government to train teachers of the languages to ensure they don't die out.

The Council of Indigenous People will collaborate with the universities to establish indigenous language centers to train the teachers.

Under the Indigenous Languages Development Act, indigenous people who participate in national civil service examinations and for grants to study abroad will be required to have certification in indigenous languages by June 2020.

The legislation also requires civil servants in positions related to indigenous affairs who do not have language certification to study indigenous languages.


Hu Sheng-cheng, renowned economist and chairman of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, has died after a long illness. He was 78.

Hu was diagnosed with serious gastrointestinal problems in 2016 that caused his health to deteriorate over time.

President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed her condolences over Hu's death, calling it a "great loss to the country."

Born in Yilan, Hu distinguished himself in the field of economics both at home and abroad. His fields of expertise were macroeconomics, public economics, and economic growth theory.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mourning the death of former AIT director, Darryl Johnson, who died on June 24 in Seattle. He was 80.

Johnson was AIT Director from 1996-1999.

The foreign ministry says Johnson served as AIT director during a historic moment in time that included the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis and the first direct presidential election.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has asked Taiwan's representative office in Seattle to extend the nation's condolence to Johnson's family. The office also sent staff to attend his memorial service.


The 2018 Fulong International Sand Sculpture Arts Festival has been forced to end earlier than scheduled after Typhoon Maria battered the area Wednesday.

Organizers say the typhoon wreaked havoc on Fulong beach, smashing all the sand sculptures.

The event began on April 21 in New Taipei's Gongliao District and was originally slated to finish this weekend.

The festival had been showcasing sand sculptures by both domestic and foreign artists and included upside down and underground sculptures for the first time.

Organizers say some 300,000 people visited the event form April 21 through this past Monday.


The height of Jade Mountain has been officially restated as 3,952.43m with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5cm.

The Yushan National Park Headquarters says the latest measurement was calculated using the most modern technology available.

The Ministry of the Interior's National Land Surveying and Mapping Center visited the mountain on multiple occasions from 2016-2017 to take readings.

The center used different techniques such as leveling, satellite positioning and gravity surveying were employed to ensure the measurement is as accurate as possible

The official height of Jade Mountain was previously recorded as 3,952m. The mountain is the highest peak in Taiwan and Northeast Asia.

Correction: A previous version of this article ran with incorrect romanization of various names.

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

TNL Editor: Nick Aspinwall