Category Archives: taiwan full

Entire world is watching Taiwan’s elections: Steve Bannon

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said Saturday that “the entire world is watching what happens” in Taiwan’s Jan. 11 elections, calling “a free and independent Taiwan” the ultimate rebuttal of the Chinese political project.

Bannon, a figure associated with America’s far-right, promoted hawkish policies against China during his seven months in the Trump administration, and has more recently joined fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui (郭文貴) in a series of broadcasts attacking China’s political leadership.

In a pre-recorded video address to a forum on Taiwan-Japan relations, organized by the conservative Formosa Republican Association in Taipei, Bannon said that Taiwan’s elections, along with the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, played a vital role in thwarting China’s quest for global dominance.

He accused the Chinese government of “enslaving” its people and aggressively expanding its power under the guise of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the telecoms company Huawei.

In light of this threat, Bannon said the Trump administration had sought to “confront China on multiple fronts,” including the West Pacific and the South China Sea.

“This is why January’s election, particularly the reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), is so important,” he said, arguing that Tsai “represents the banner of freedom…and self-determination.”

Placing Taiwan in the context of a larger conflict between China and the West, Bannon argued that Taiwan’s upcoming elections are “the single most important event we have in front of us.”

“As goes Taiwan, so goes Asia. And as goes Asia, so goes the rest of the world,” he said.

At the end of his remarks, Bannon explained that he had been prevented from traveling to Taiwan by the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but added that he hoped to visit in the weeks after the election.

“I look forward to coming over in January and celebrating,” he said.

(By Matthew Mazzetta) Enditem/AW

Recognizing Beijing imperils Taiwan allies’ sovereignty: US official

U.S. State Department official Jennifer Spande.

Washington, Dec. 9 (CNA) A U.S. State Department official warned Monday that allies of Taiwan who switch recognition to Beijing could be imperiling their sovereignty, citing risks such as debt and Chinese influence in domestic policymaking.

Speaking at the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington, Jennifer Spande, deputy director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, reaffirmed the U.S. position that the Chinese campaign to steal Taiwan’s diplomatic allies is a threat to stability in cross-strait relations.

Spande said the U.S. was not trying to dictate to anyone, but rather counseling prudence regarding the sovereignty issues involved in changes in policy by Taiwan’s allies in the Pacific, so that the countries can remain “free from foreign coercion or domination.”

“A region in which countries maintain their freedom of choice will be a more prosperous and secure one,” Spande said.

China has successfully pressured seven countries around the world (including two in Oceania) to sever formal ties with Taiwan and recognize Beijing in the last three years, leaving Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies.

Despite the trend, however, newly-elected governments in both the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their support for Taiwan, Spande said.

Spande highlighted comments by Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe, who said the risks of relations with China include debt as well as pressure to allow the construction of artificial islands and military bases.

More broadly, Spande praised Taiwan as a long-term partner in the Oceania region that works with the U.S. in areas such as natural disaster response, environmental protection and efforts to strengthen the rule of law, and she said the U.S. government hoped to expand areas of bilateral cooperation.

As an example, Spande cited the presence of the State Department’s senior official for APEC, Sandra Oudkirk, at the inaugural U.S.-Taiwan Pacific Islands Dialogue, which was held in Taipei in October.

(By Chiang Chinye and Matthew Mazzetta)Enditem/ls

Prague poised to establish city-to-city ties with Taipei

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (left) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) met in Taipei in March

Berlin, Dec. 12 (CNA) The city council of Prague in the Czech Republic passed a motion to establish “sisterhood ties” with Taipei Thursday.

Prague city council voted 39-0 to approve the motion, with two abstentions.

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib announced last week that he will sign an agreement with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in January when Ko visits the Czech capital to boost bilateral trade, tourist, cultural and educational exchanges between the two cities.

Hrib said that Prague will send students to Taipei to learn Chinese, as well as study Taiwan’s digitization of healthcare and development of metro systems.

He also revealed that Prague Zoo expects to be gifted a pangolin from Taipei.

Prague terminated its city-to-city agreement with Beijing in October after a dispute over the removal of Beijing’s “one China” policy clause from the agreement.

(By Flor Wang and Lin Yu-li) Enditem/AW

Pilot union condemns FAT decision to suspend all flights

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Taoyuan Pilots Union on Thursday condemned Far Eastern Air Transport Corp (FAT) after an unexpected announcement earlier in the day that the company will end all flight operations starting Friday, calling on the government to help FAT pilots find work at other airlines.

In a press statement, the union said FAT’s announcement clearly violated labor laws that stipulate a 60-day notice to the labor authorities before major layoffs.

The decision by FAT also seriously infringed on the rights of its 1,000-plus employees and customers. The union urged the government to step in and compel the airline to offer remedies that safeguard the rights of its staff.

The Taipei-based medium-sized international carrier announced Thursday on its website that all flight operations would end with effect from Friday, due to financial difficulties. However, later that evening, the company’s online statement was revised to read that operations are being “suspended” rather than terminated.

That change came after an earlier follow-up press event by FAT Deputy General Manager Huang Yu-chi (黃育祺) caused confusion when he said the airline was “suspending” flight operations temporarily due to a shortage of funding, which he estimated as being around NT$30 million (US$979,751).

Huang promised to protect the rights of the company’s 1,024 employees and said FAT had contacted the Taipei City Department of Labor to discuss layoff issues.

He did not say when or how many staff the airline would sack.

Taiwan jets intercept Chinese war planes in Taiwan Strait

Photo for illustrative purposes / CNA file photo

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled several fighter jets Sunday when two military aircraft from China crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The Taiwan Air Force jets intercepted two J-11 fighter planes from the People’s Liberation Army of China when they crossed the median line, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said.

The Chinese fighter planes entered Taiwan’s southwestern airspace at 11 a.m. and retreated to the west side of the median line after they were issued a radio warning, according to a statement issued by the MND.

According to local media, the incident triggered a 10-minute standoff between Taiwan and China warplanes.

Air Force Officer Wang Chun-hsiung (王純雄) told CNA that Taiwan’s military has standard procedures for dealing with such incidents and will dispatch surveillance units if China’s military aircraft enter Taiwan’s air defense identification zone or cross the median line in the strait.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on its Twitter that the Chinese war planes made “intentional, reckless and provocative action” and violated a long-held tacit agreement by crossing the median line.

“We’ve informed regional partners and condemn China for such behavior,” MOFA said.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) condemned that China’s act not only lacked international responsibility, but was also a deliberate provocation that undermines regional security and stability.

He described the act of the Chinese warplanes crossing the median line as destruction of the status quo in the strait.

“The Republic of China government strongly condemned such an act,” Huang said.

(By Matt Yu, Emerson Lin and William Yen)

Passengers can now buy Taiwan High Speed Rail tickets via Facebook

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) Passengers can now purchase Taiwan High Speed Rail tickets via Facebook Messenger, even up to just one hour before departure, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) announced Thursday.

Travelers not only can purchase tickets through Facebook Messenger but also check their reservations and make other ticket-related inquiries through the messaging platform, according to THSRC.

The platform will guide travelers to check timetables and ticket availability and make seat reservations and online payments through an app called T Express.

The high speed rail, which began service Jan. 5, 2007, connects major cities in western Taiwan between Taipei and Kaohsiung.

The 349.5-kilometer rail system is a popular method for traveling up and down the island due to its speed.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Chung Yu-chen)

Taiwan Taoyuan Airport ranked 13th best in the world

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ranks 13th among the world’s 100 best airports, based partly on its cleanliness and immigration and security services, according to the Skytrax 2019 World Airport Awards that were released Thursday.

The 13th place ranking was the best ever for the Taoyuan airport in the Skytrax awards, was three places higher than last year, and put the airport in 8th place among other top Asian gateways.

In the various categories of the awards, the Taoyuan airport’s immigration service was listed as the 4th best in the world, and its staff and baggage delivery services were ranked 7th.

The airport’s cleanliness and security services were ranked the 8th worldwide, while its accessible facilities for passengers with reduced mobility were rated the 9th best.

The Skytrax World Airport Awards are based on votes by customers in the world’s largest annual airport customer satisfaction survey.

This year, Singapore’s Changi Airport retained the top position, followed by Japan’s Tokyo International Airport Haneda.

Rounding out the top five were South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, in that order.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

Taiwan blasts China over its ‘barbaric behavior’ in Czech Republic

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday blasted China for what it called “barbaric behavior” after Taiwan’s representative in the Czech Republic was forced out of an economic meeting held recently in the Central European country.

Wang Chung-I (汪忠一), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Prague, was removed from the meeting after a Chinese embassy official there protested his participation, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The economic conference on March 27, held for the 19th year, was organized by the Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry and saw the participation of more than 100 officials from abroad.

The “barbaric actions” undertaken by China will only make more Taiwanese reject the “one China” principle touted by China’s leaders, MOFA said, and it blamed China’s Foreign Ministry as the biggest culprit for the continued deterioration of cross-strait ties.

Taiwan has already expressed grave concerns over the incident to the Czech government, MOFA said, but added that it hoped that exchanges between the two sides can continue to proceed as usual.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the incident was the result of Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib’s defiance in visiting Taiwan, despite strong objections from Beijing.

Hrib arrived in Taiwan earlier this week, during which he met with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and also attended the Smart City Summit & Expo at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from March 26 to 29.

(By Elaine Hou, Lin Yu-li and Ko Lin)

Tsai urges Taiwan political parties to reject ‘one country, two systems’

Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday called on all political parties in Taiwan to reject the “one country, two systems” formula devised by China and forget about the “1992 consensus.”

In a press conference with foreign media in Taipei, Tsai said she hoped all the political parties in Taiwan would send a clear message to China, based on the wishes of the Taiwan people.

“Do not mention the ‘1992 consensus’ again since that phrase has been defined by China as the ‘one country, two systems’ mechanism, which has left no flexibility for interpretation,” Tsai said.

“By emphasizing ‘one China’ and ‘one country, two systems’, particularly in the context of the so-called ‘1992 consensus,’ China has made clear their political intentions towards Taiwan and their steps for unification,” she said.

Tsai said that as a democracy, Taiwan’s cross-strait interaction must follow the wishes and oversight of its people. “Therefore, any discussions must be between governments that are representative of the people of both sides,” Tsai told the 47 foreign correspondents from the United States, Japan, Europe and elsewhere, at the news conference at the Presidential Office.

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said a speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” that China must be reunified.

He said China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the political process as long as the party accepts the “one China principle.”

However, “we make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means” to serve that end, while China continues to seek “peaceful reunification,” Xi said.

In his speech, he defined the “1992 consensus” as “the two sides of the strait belonging to one China, and working together to seek the unification of the nation” and said the one country, two systems formula is the best approach to achieving reunification.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a verbal agreement reached in 1992 between the then Kuomintang (KMT) government of Taiwan and Chinese communist officials. The agreement has been consistently interpreted by the KMT to mean that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what “China” means.

However, Beijing has never publicly voiced support for the second part of the KMT interpretation.

Tsai said Xi has been trying to skirt the democratic process by calling for talks with individual political parties instead of with the Taiwan government, which is elected by the people of Taiwan.

“China’s plan to engage in political consultation with the political parties instead of the democratically elected government of Taiwan is a continuation of its deliberate campaign to undermine and subvert our democratic process and create division in our society,” Tsai said.

She called on the international community to stand with Taiwan in the face of the threats from China.

If the international community does not help and support Taiwan, she said, the country will become another victim of China’s pressure.

China should pay closer attention to issues that affect the lives of the Taiwan people, Tsai said, adding that for example, China should be working with Taiwan and other countries in the region to help combat African swine fever (ASF).

Authorities in Taiwan have deep concerns that the current outbreak of ASF in China could spread to Taiwan and Kinmen, which is only about 2 kilometers east of the mainland Chinese city of Xiamen.

Tsai also called for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to coordinate the efforts in the region to prevent the spread of ASF, saying Taiwan has good experience in disease prevention and is willing to make a contribution.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Frances Huang)

Su Tseng-chang named as new premier

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced Friday that former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will lead the new Cabinet, in a major reshuffle.

Su will replace Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who resigned shortly before, along with the rest of the Cabinet, in preparation for the reshuffle.

At a press conference after the Cabinet’s en mass resignation, Tsai said Su has the experience, will and ability to serve well in that post again.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)

Taiwan selected world’s fifth most friendly country in 2018

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Taiwan was selected the fifth most friendly country in the world in 2018 by customers of — one of the largest e-commerce travel companies in the globe.

Erluanbi, the southernmost tip in Taiwan, was chosen as the most friendly travel destination in the country, according to, with Taiwanese travelers identifying the friendliness of a destination as an important element in deciding whether to visit.

Australia, the Czech Republic, Poland and New Zealand were the top four countries on the list, while Romania, Hungary, Iceland, Serbia, and Greece rounded off the top 10, according to the website, which released the ranking as part of its 2018 Guest Review Awards.

In 2018, 759,845 travel accommodation providers in 219 countries and areas received a Guest Review Award based on guest comments. Italy retained the top spot with 106,513 lodgings winning awards, Spain came second with 46,646 and France was third with with 45,286, according to the website.

Taiwan was ranked 33rd in terms of Guest Review Awards, an improvement of three places from 2017, with 5,212 accommodation operators receiving awards.

Bed and breakfast, hotels and youth hostels were the most popular accommodation among travelers visiting Taiwan in 2018, the website said.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Flor Wang)