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‘Selling out my people? I’m only here to sell fruits’: Beijing-friendly Taiwanese mayor Han Kuo-yu fires back at critics over rare visit

  • Rising star in opposition Kuomintang party doubles down on stance about trade promotion amid calls back home to clarify intent of trip
  • He slams ‘noise and scepticism’ as ‘boring and pointless’, saying dinner event with liaison office in city did not touch on Taiwan’s future

Han Kuo-yu, a rising star in the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, was responding to a call by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council and politicians back home to clarify intentions over a Friday dinner meeting with Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing’s liaison office.

“I’m bringing along my wife, my deputy mayor and my team to Hong Kong, under the watch of 10 city councillors. Am I really going to sell out Kaohsiung? I’m only here to sell fruits and fish products,” Han told reporters in Macau at noon on Saturday.

He met Fu Ziying, director of Beijing’s liaison office in the casino hub.    [FULL  STORY]

China’s Worst Nightmare: A U.S. Military Presence on Taiwan?

Could it happen?

The National Interest
March 22, 2019 
By: Stratfor Worldview

Enhanced security cooperation between Taiwan and the United States could easily expand as the pair work to balance against China’s increased military presence in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea . On Nov. 5, Taiwanese Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa told legislators that his government would consider allowing the U.S. Navy access to Taiping Island if Washington requested it. The remark is by no means conclusive, though Yen emphasized that the United States could be granted access for humanitarian or regional security operations if they aligned with Taiwan’s interests.

Allowing the United States access to the island would further challenge the status quo at a time when the U.S. Navy is stepping up its presence in the Taiwan Strait . Over the past few months, U.S. warships have twice passed through the Taiwan Strait in a possible attempt to standardize patrols there or even pave the way for an aircraft carrier group to transit through. And in October, a U.S. Navy research ship docked in Taiwan’s southern port city of Kaohsiung for refueling. Moreover, Taiwanese media has speculated that U.S. vessels will dock in Taiwan as part of naval exercises that are expected to occur in the region this month. However, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson declined to confirm or deny such a possibility.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan ex-Premier Lai offers “Three Realistic Directions”

Lai’s directions seen as response to comments by President Tsai

Taiwan News   
Date: 2019/03/23 
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

William Lai and Tsai Ing-wen (Credit: William Lai official FB page and Wikipedia)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Premier William Lai (賴清德) presented his “Three Realistic Directions” for Taiwan on Facebook recently, apparently as a response to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “Three Preconditions.”

Both registered for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primaries during the past week. A five-member committee formed by the party to resolve the candidacies met for the first time Saturday, reports said.

In his Facebook post, Lai explained that he saw the term “Taiwan Independence” as an abbreviation of “Taiwan is already independent,” “Taiwan should be its own master and protect democracy.”

As a “realistic worker for Taiwan Independence,” the former premier named three elements of his realism.    [FULL  STORY]

Presence of U.S. ambassador at Tsai banquet significant: scholars

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/23
By: Wen Kuei-hsiang, Elaine Hou and Chung Yu-chen

Amy J> Hyatt (right), the U.S. ambassador to Palau, shakes hands with President Tsai Ing-wen.

Koror, Palau, March 23 (CNA) Two scholars believe that the presence of Amy J. Hyatt, the United States ambassador to Palau, at a banquet hosted by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday reflected growing ties between Taiwan and the U.S.

On Friday, Hyatt also attended a state banquet hosted by Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. for Tsai, who is currently in Palau on the first leg of her tour of some of Taiwan’s Pacific allies.

Hyatt was seated at the main table Saturday, and her interaction with Tsai was limited to little more than handshakes and exchanges of greetings.

But Hyatt’s presence showed the United States is putting great emphasis on Tsai’s Pacific visit, Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), an executive board member of Taiwan Thinktank, told CNA.    [FULL  STORY]

Tsai, HK lawmakers slam Han meeting

‘CALCULATED ARRANGEMENT’: The president said that Han’s visit to China’s liaison office might have been designed to create an impression of ‘one country, two systems’

Taipei Times
Date: Mar 24, 2019
By: Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A meeting between Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and the head of China’s

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, left, shakes hands with Chinese Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Director Wang Zhimin in Hong Kong on Friday.  Photo: CNA

liaison office in Hong Kong has incurred criticism from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who said it could give the impression that Beijing’s “one country, two systems” model might be applicable to Taiwan. Han was also criticized by several pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers, who slammed what they called an endorsement of China’s “distorted implementation” of the framework.

Han is leading a 28-member delegation on a visit to Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Xiamen to promote trade before returning to Kaohsiung on Thursday next week.

On Friday, he met with Chinese Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Director Wang Zhimin (王志民). The meeting was not included in the itinerary published by Han’s office prior to the trip.

Tsai, who was in Palau on a state visit to three Pacific allies, yesterday said that the office is a key organization responsible for China’s implementation of the “one country, two systems” framework in Hong Kong.    [FULL  STORY]

WATCH:Breathing Taiwan’s Air

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 22 March, 2019
By: Paula Chao

Natalie Tso, Liu Kwang-yin, Andrew Ryan (from left to right)

If you breathe the air in Taiwan, you’ll definitely want to watch today’s program! A shocking exposé in CommonWealth Magazine earlier this month explains how factories and power plants are taking advantage of loopholes to cover up excessive pollution. We talk with one of the authors of a six-month investigative report, senior reporter Liu Kwang-yin, who helps shed some light on thes issue.

*Read the report here:

*Find out if there are smokestacks in your backyard (CH):

INTERVIEW: Ian Rowen on the Sunflower Movement and Youth Activism in Taiwan

Ian Rowen looks back on the 2014 Sunflower occupation and its lasting effects on Taiwan.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/03/22
By: Cat Thomas 

Credit: Courtesy of Ian Rowen

Readers who followed the Sunflower and Umbrella movements may well be familiar with the works of Dr. Ian Rowen (伊恩). At the time of the movements, he was affiliated at Academia Sinica, supported by a Fulbright fellowship to work on his PhD in Geography, which he completed at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016. He was present at both protests, and wrote on them for media publications including The Guardian. He went on to publish academic papers based on his observations, although his initial involvement with the Sunflower Movement was not originally intended to be an academic endeavor.

Few people could be better placed to write on the region. Rowen, 39, was born in Alaska, grew up both there and Los Angeles, and has since spent most of his time somewhere in Asia. He first visited Asia as a 15-year-old obsessed with Balinese gamelan, and then went on a college junior year exchange to Hong Kong, he recalls, “on something of a whim, thinking I wanted to learn to to read Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu in the original, and meanwhile see what post-handover Hong Kong was like.”

He followed this up by backpacking around Southeast Asia, passed Y2K at Angkor Wat, and the following summer visited Taiwan for the first time before backpacking from Xi’an to Xinjiang and then to the Tibetan Plateau. Soon after graduating college, he moved to Taiwan to study Chinese and later work in media before moving to China, where he was a Visiting Scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai. This was followed by a stint in the Philippines, then graduate school in Colorado, then back to Taiwan for his aforementioned postdoc. Over the course of his rather illustrious career, he’s worked as a translator, journalist, musician, tour guide, hotelier and entrepreneur.

Currently the Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, a position he has held since 2017, Rowen’s broad interests and skills – he’s also the Meta-Regional Representative for Burning Man and a fellow of the World Economic Forum (WEF) – are reflected his cross-appointments to the School of Art, Design, and Media, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.    [FULL  STORY]

Chinese-American man shouts ‘Trump save me’ after tossing wife off Taiwan airport stairway

After being arrested for hurling his wife off Taiwan Taoyuan airport stairway, Chinese-American man shouts ‘Trump save me’

Taiwan News   
Date: 2019/03/22 
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Wan (center). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After a Chinese-American man Wan (萬) was arrested for shoving his wife off the fourth-floor staircase in the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, he was overheard shouting “Trump save me,” according to Liberty Times.

Wan, 32, had previously been working as an actuary in the U.S. However, he lost his job and was unable to find new employment.

In February of this year, Wan took his Taiwanese-Canadian wife surnamed Chang (張), 33, and their child to Taiwan for the Lunar New Year holiday. Wan had originally planned to return to the U.S. in April.

On Sunday (March 17), Wan had an argument with Chang over his inability to find a job and their child’s living conditions. Wan then angrily stormed off toward the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Chang was in hot pursuit.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan, Palau sign sea patrol cooperation pact

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/22
By: Wen Kui-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu 

Koror, Palau, March 22 (CNA) Taiwan and its Pacific ally, Palau, signed an agreement on Friday to cooperate in sea patrols and under this new pact, they will launch a joint rescue drill on the seas close to Palau this weekend.

The accord was signed by Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Palau Vice President Raynold Oilouch in the presence of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Palau counterpart Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. at a state banquet for Tsai.

Tsai is in the island nation on the first leg of a visit to three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific region.

Under the new pact, Taiwan’s 1,800-tonne Hsun Hu No. 7 patrol frigate will participate in a joint marine patrol exercise with Palau’s vessels on Saturday, said Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Director-General Chen Guo-en (陳國恩), a member of Tsai’s entourage.  [FULL  STORY]

Trump aides support F-16 sale: sources

STRIKING DEALS: Ignoring concerns about antagonizing China, the US president has taken a more aggressive approach amid talks to settle a trade dispute with Beijing

Taipei Times
Date: Mar 23, 2019
By: Bloomberg

The administration of US President Donald Trump has given tacit approval to Taiwan’s

A Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet takes off from a closed section of highway during the annual Han Kuang military exercises in Chiayi, central Taiwan. Taiwan`s defense ministry says it has submitted an official request to purchase new fighter jets from the United States  Photo: AP

request to buy more than 60 F-16 Fighting Falcons, people familiar with the matter said.

Trump’s advisers encouraged Taiwan to submit a formal request for the jets, built by Lockheed Martin, which it did this month, said the people, who asked not be identified discussing internal discussions.

Any such request would need to be converted into a formal proposal by the US departments of defense and state, and then US Congress would have 30 days to decide whether to block the sale.

The administration of then-US president Barack Obama in 2011 rejected a similar Taiwanese request over concern about antagonizing China.    [FULL  STORY]