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5 Ways the US and Taiwan Can Strengthen Ties and Check China in 2019

The time is now for the US to recalibrate its China policy to support Taiwan and adapt to a changing Asia-Pacific security climate, writes Kent Wang.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/16
By: Kent Wang

Credit: Reuters / Stephen Lam

As the 116th U.S. Congress begins its work in earnest, it will be critical for members to examine the current state of U.S.-Taiwan Relations and the many opportunities that this administration can take.

The situation in the Taiwan Strait is treacherous, and the United States has a large interest in helping Taiwan because of its strategic position in the island chain bracketing China’s east coast. By increasing the deterrent value of Taiwan’s defenses and those of our other allies in the region, the United States and Taiwan can help deny China the opportunity to accomplish its goal by threat or by force.

The year 2019 presents not just challenges, but opportunities for improved U.S.-Taiwan relations. Here are five paths towards strengthening U.S.-Taiwan ties that the new U.S. Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump should consider going into the new year.    [FULL  STORY]

Wu Feng supports death penalty in wake of child abuse cases in Taiwan

Turkish entertainer Wu Feng comes out in support of death penalty in wake of recent child abuse cases in Taiwan

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/01/16
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Wu Feng (left), woman accused of beating daughter (right). (Facebook images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In the wake of two brutal cases of child abuse seen in Taiwan in recent days, Taiwanese-Turkish TV show host Ugur Rifat Karlova, better known as Wu Feng (吳鳳) issued a comment today in which he came out in support of the death penalty for particularly heinous cases.

In response to Yahoo News article about an 18-month-old toddler who was beaten to death by her mother and those around her and the news of a father beating his son for not adding hot peppers to his meatballs, Wu Feng posted a comment below expressing his support for the death penalty in extreme cases of child abuse, quickly gaining thousands of likes by Taiwanese readers.

In the comments section of the article about the beating death of the tiny toddler, Wu Feng wrote the following comment:

“I have never publicly shared my support for the death penalty! But for the first time since the recent spate of child abuse, I sincerely support very serious punishment that includes the death penalty! This kind of behavior should definitely not be punished lightly! I feel that we as influential entertainers are also responsible for helping Taiwan’s society progress, and the world to improve.”    [FULL  STORY]

Freeways to be toll-free at night during Lunar New Year holiday

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/16
By: Wang Shu-feng and Evelyn Kao

Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍, right)

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) Taiwan’s national freeways will be toll-free from midnight to 5 a.m. during the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday to ease traffic congestion, new Minister of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Lin said the government’s priority in that regard will be providing a safe and high-quality service on the freeways rather than collecting tolls.

Therefore, the toll-free measure will be implemented not only during the Feb 2-10 Lunar New Year holiday but also on 228 Peace Memorial Day and during the Tomb Sweeping Festival to provide greater convenience to road users, said Lin, who took office the previous day.

In past years, tolls were lifted on highways for about six hours per day on long holidays, starting at 11 p.m.    [FULL  STORY]

Customs begins carry-on inspections

SEVEN MINUTE WAIT: To improve delays for travelers, customs officers requested 10 more X-ray machines, 130 to 150 additional personnel and time to train them

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 17, 2019
By: Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport customs officers yesterday expanded inspections of

Customs staff inspect a passenger’s carry-on luggage at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.  Photo: Tony Yao, Taipei Times

carry-on luggage for passengers from China, Macau and Hong Kong — which are at high risk for African swine fever — but a lack of personnel and X-ray machines resulted in long lines of arriving passengers.

The Customs Administration began more thorough luggage inspections on a trial basis for travelers from areas affected by African swine fever to comply with an order given by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) after he took office on Monday requiring all carry-on luggage from those areas to be manually checked.

The Aviation Police Bureau said it was instructed to assist in the quarantine efforts, adding that it would coordinate with other agencies in inspecting carry-on luggage at boarding gates.

With more than 100 flights daily from Hong Kong, Macau and China, the bureau said it has requested additional personnel from the National Police Agency.    [FULL  STORY]

Mini stands on guard against ASF

The China Post
Date: Jan. 16, 2019
TAIPEI (The China Post) – The Chinese New Year is right around the corner and many Taiwanese businesspeople and Chinese tourists are expected to arrive in Taiwan via Kinmen and the Mini Three Links. In light of the recent outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), Mini, a dog from the Quarantine Prevention Unit with 6 years of experience under its belt, has been deployed to “guard the frontier.”

The “senior detector dog” was transferred to Kinmen to join the frontline’s quarantine service after 6 years of service at Taoyuan Airport to bolster epidemic prevention at the Shuitou Pier, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said on Jan.15. BAPHIQ indicated that Mini inspected 2,642 batches of animal and plant quarantine objects in 2018. This number equals to 3 metric tons of merchandise for a successful detection rate of over 80 percent, which is very stable. 1    [FULL  STORY]

Vigilante mob gathers after video of domestic violence incident shared on social media

Taiwan English News
Date: January 14, 2019 
By: Phillip Charlier

A vigilante mob gathered outside a gated community in Luzhou District, New Taipei City, and a small group managed to infiltrate the building to beat up a man after a video of a domestic violence incident was shared on social media, yesterday, January 13.

On the evening of January 12, a 42-year-old man named Lin sent his 12-year-old son out to buy some spicy meatballs. However, the son returned with un-spiced meatballs. Lin flew into a rage, demanding to know why his meatballs were not spicy. Lin smacked his son around the head several times, and grabbed his wife in a headlock when she attempted to intervene.

Lin’s wife, named Lee, filmed the incident on her phone to use as evidence for divorce proceedings as Lee had grown weary of Lin’s drinking and violence.

Lin accused his son of lying when he said that he ordered spicy meatballs but the vendor didn’t add spice.

Lin accused his son of lying when he said that he ordered spicy meatballs but the vendor didn’t add spice.

Domestic Violence Hotline 113
After the incident, Lee called the domestic violence hotline, “113.” Lee and her son were sent to hospital for treatment and examination. The 12-year-old boy had bruises to his head and hands and facial bleeding. Lee had bruises to her head and shoulders.

Lin was handed a protection order, and Lee and her son taken into temporary housing by social workers.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News: Tsai Vows to Cope With Cross-Strait Changes at Military Visit

A daily breakdown of Taiwan’s top stories and why they matter.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/16
By: TNL Daily News

Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office

Tsai vows to cope with changing circumstances

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday that her administration would adapt to changing circumstances to protect the sovereignty and security of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and safeguard Taiwan’s democracy and freedom.

Tsai made her remarks while inspecting and observing a military exercise of the Army Defense Command in Hualien and Taitung.

She reiterated that Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in his Jan. 2 speech on Taiwan, reiterated Beijing’s willingness to unify Taiwan and China by force if necessary.

Tsai has enjoyed a surge in popularity since responding to Xi’s speech by unequivocally rejecting Xi’s proposal of a “one country, two systems” framework for Taiwan, although it remains to be seen whether the goodwill towards her cross-Strait stance will extend to her and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the upcoming 2020 presidential and legislative elections.    [FULL  STORY]

Nude Vietnamese tourist caught hiding in closet during raid on S. Taiwan brothel

Nude Vietnamese tourist working as prostitute caught hiding in wardrobe in Tainan, Taiwan, 8 other Vietnamese nationals arrested

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/01/15
By: Keoni Everington,Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Police officer searches for evidence. (Tainan Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Vietnamese woman, who came to Taiwan as a tourist but has been working in the sex trade, was caught hiding while nude in a brothel wardrobe raided by police in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City last week, reported Apple Daily.

As part of a raid on three brothels in Tainan City last week, a Vietnamese woman working as a prostitute was caught off guard and tried to hide nude in a wardrobe before she had a chance to wear clothing. She was one of nine Vietnamese woman arrested at three locations that day for engaging in prostitution while visiting Taiwan on a tourist visa.

A 45-year-old Vietnamese woman surnamed Nguyen (阮), who married a Taiwanese man and has lived in Taiwan for 20 years, has opened three “erotic health centers” in Tainnan and has taken advantage of the New Southbound Policy to recruit women from Vietnam, offering them “one month of pay for a day’s work.” Nguyen has allegedly been posting photos of the young women on social media to drum up business, eventually drawing the attention from authorities.

National Immigration Agency received a tipoff and sent a report to the Tainan District Prosecutor’s Office to direct an investigation. On Jan. 8, the Tainan Investigation Bureau, together with Tainan’s Shanhua and Yongkang Precinct police carried out a raid on the three erotic massage parlors.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan to open Cold War battleground island for tourism from March 1

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/15
By: Huang Huei-min and William Yen

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) A Taiwan-held island off the coast of China that was a major battleground during the Cold War will be opened to the public as a tourist destination, starting March 1, the Kinmen County Tourism Department said Tuesday.

However, visitors will have to apply ahead of time to visit Dadan Island, which is part of Kinmen County, the department said, adding that it will begin accepting applications on Feb. 12.

In addition, Chinese nationals, including those living in Hong Kong and Macau, will not be permitted to visit the island, the department said.

The number of visitors will be limited to 150 per day and admission tickets will cost NT$1,500 (US$48.67), which will include the return ferry trip, electric shuttle bus rides and group tour guide services, while residents of Kinmen will get a discounted price of NT$750, the department said.    [FULL  STORY]

Control Yuan votes to impeach Kuan

ILLEGAL WORK? Kuan Chung-ming continued to submit opinion pieces to Next Magazine for pay while serving in the Cabinet, a Control Yuan member said

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 16, 2019
By: Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

The Control Yuan yesterday voted seven to four to impeach National Taiwan University

Control Yuan members, left to right, Tsai Chung-yi, Chen Shih-meng and Wang Yu-ling talk to the media after the Control Yuan passed a motion to impeach National Taiwan University president Kuan Chung-ming yesterday.  Photo: CNA

(NTU) president Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) for allegedly breaching the Civil Servant Work Act (公務員服務法) by writing opinion pieces for the Chinese-language Next Magazine (壹週刊) while serving as minister without portfolio.

Control Yuan members Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), Fang Wan-fu (方萬富), Lin Sheng-fong (林盛豐), Walis Perin, Peter Chang (張武修) and Yang Fang-wan (楊芳婉) voted for the impeachment, while members Wang Mei-yu (王美玉), Liu Te-hsun (劉德勳), Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香) and Chiang Ming-tsang (江明蒼) voted against it.

An investigation into Kuan’s allegedly illegal work was launched by Control Yuan members Wang Yu-ling (王幼玲) and Tsai Chung-yi (蔡崇義) in April last year.

The case is to be forwarded to the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission.