Page Three

War in the Pacific: ‘Danger zone. Beijing could react ‘

Noted military expert James R. Holmes says the outbreak of a conflict between the US and China is more likely than ever. Economic and demographic problems could push the Chinese to attempt operations against Taiwan and in the South China Sea. Beijing aims for a short war; the US will try to prolong it, as it did with Japan in World War II.
Date: 12/22/2020
By: Emanuele Scimia

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – “We are in a danger zone in which Beijing may conclude it must act now or forego the opportunity forever," says James R. Holmes, C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the US Naval War College in Newport, speaking to AsiaNews about the possibility of a military conflict between Washington and Beijing.

China and the United States – and not only – are deploying more forces, spending more on armaments and stepping up military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. In recent days, a Chinese aircraft carrier – with its escort vessels – and a US destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait, considered together with the South China Sea to be the most sensitive geopolitical front in the area.

A war in the Pacific between the US and China – Holmes argues – is more likely than at any time in decades, and for reasons that may at first appear contradictory. “China's policies exude both bombast and feelings of insecurity. Bombast because China now feels strong after its economic and military accomplishments of recent decades, insecurity because Beijing must realize it is turning the region against it through its bullying," he notes.

Moreover, the US academic discerns that things are not going well in China: “Certainly demographics is turning against it, and establishing an Orwellian surveillance state and crushing minority rights cannot be signs of a regime confident in its future.”

California wants nursing staff from Taiwan and Australia to help combat the pandemic

West Coast state expects 100,000 virus patients to be hospitalized

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/12/22
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Patients waiting for treatment outside a hospital in Los Angeles, California  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic tightens its grip on California, the American state was considering calling in medical assistance from countries like Taiwan and Australia, reports said Tuesday (Dec. 22).

Officials on the West Coast of the United States were estimating that 100,000 citizens might have to be hospitalized as the infections expand during the Christmas period.

Two banks aim to have all branches bilingual by 2026

Focus Taiwan
Date: 12/22/2020
By: Wu Chia-hung and Frances Huang

CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 22 (CNA) E. Sun Commercial Bank and Hua Nan Commercial Bank, two major Taiwanese banks, said Tuesday that they will make all of their branches bilingual by 2026, with their employees proficient in English.

E. Sun Financial Holding Co., which wholly owns E. Sun Bank, said that all of its 139 branches in Taiwan will be English-proficient by 2026, while Hua Nan Financial Co., which owns Hua Nan Bank, said that by 2026, all of its 186 branches will also be bilingual.

The two banks are among local banks that are eyeing the goal of becoming bilingual, a push that has been ongoing since 2019 by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), Taiwan's top financial regulator, to boost the banking sector's competitive edge.

The FSC's efforts fall under the Taiwan government's "2030 Bilingual Country" policy. The policy was initiated by Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in 2018 when he was serving as premier.    [FULL  STORY]

Food items stopped at border for high pesticide levels

Taipei Times
Date: Dec 23, 2020
By: Staff writer, with CNA

Coffee beans from Japan’s Kaldi Coffee Farm are displayed as the Food and Drug Administration announces at a news conference in Taipei yesterday that the pesticide residue in the coffee beans failed to meet Taiwan’s standards.
Photo: CNA

Several imported food items, including tea and coffee beans, were recently blocked at the border after they were found to contain excessive pesticide residue and other contaminants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

The 23 items that failed inspection included a 3kg shipment of green tea powder from Japan, branded as matcha, which was imported by Taipei-based Sunrise Logistics Co, the FDA said.

The tea was found to contain 0.08 parts per million (ppm) of the insecticide thiacloprid, it said, adding that the maximum allowed residue level is 0.05 ppm.

Another tea product, Jonetsu Kakaku green tea leaves, also imported from Japan by the same company, was found to contain residue of the pesticide flubendiamide, which is banned in Taiwan, the FDA said.    [FULL  STORY]

VIDEO: Taipei book expo prize winners unveiled

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 21 December, 2020
By: Paula Chao

Taipei book expo prize winners unveiled

Taipei book expo prize winners unveiled[/caption] The Taipei International Book Exhibition has unveiled its book prize winners for 2021. The honor has gone to 13 authors from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong.

At a press conference last week, organizers of the 2021 Taipei International Book Exhibition announced the winners of next year’s book prize. The prize is divided into four categories: fiction, non-fiction, children and youth, and compilation.

Well-known Taiwanese novelist Huang Chun-ming was given one of the awards for his novel about a girl who loves smiling.
The 87-year-old author said this award shows that the years he spent writing the work were worthwhile.    [FULL  STORY]

‘War between China and the US is unlikely’

Asia News
Date: 12/21/2020
By: Emanuele Scimia

For military analyst Collin Koh, greater naval presence in the Western Pacific increases the danger of “accidental” clashes, but the countries involved will not go so far as to fight a “hot” war. Any military confrontation would plunge China into potential “socioeconomic chaos”. The Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea remains the major flashpoints.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – War between China and the United States is not likely in the short term, even though the two powers are boosting their military deployment in East Asia’s two hottest geopolitical spots – the South China Sea and the Strait of Taiwan, this according to Collin Koh, an expert on military affairs and a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, who spoke to AsiaNews.

The Shandong, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier, transited through the Taiwan Strait yesterday accompanied by four escort ships, Taiwanese authorities reported. Taiwan’s military responded by mobilising six Navy ships and eight Air Force planes to monitor the situation. For communist China, Taiwan is a “rebel” province to be retaken, by force if necessary.

The Shandong’s voyage comes four days after the US destroyer Mustin sailed through the same waters. China’s military, in a statement released by its Eastern Theatre Command, said its air and naval forces “tailed and monitored” the vessel during its passage. Last Thursday, the Pentagon announced that it was boosting the US naval presence in the Indo-Pacific to counter Beijing's “expansionist” approach.

Top 8 Taiwanese superstitions to follow for luck on Dongzhi

Buy shoes and eat tangyuan, wonton, and jiaozi for good luck on Dongzhi

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/12/21
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Bowl of red and white Tangyuan. (Taipei City Market Administration Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Today (Dec. 21) is the Dongzhi (冬至, extreme of winter) Festival or winter solstice, the peak of winter based on the lunisolar calendar, and a Taiwanese feng shui expert and a Taiwanese tarot card master have given some tips on the best ways to ensure good fortune for the coming year.

Yang Teng-kei (楊登嵙), a folk custom expert and the founding chairman of the Taichung Numerology Education Association, said that the ancients said the days will become longer after Dongzhi, meaning that yin energy (陰氣) has reached its peak on this day and henceforth, yang (陽氣) energy will start to strengthen. Yang said that Dongzhi is a good opportunity to attract luck through the following eight lucky methods, reported SETN News:    [FULL  STORY]

Taoyuan factory ordered to suspend production in wake of blaze

Focus Taiwan
Date: 12/21/2020
By: Wu Ruei-chi and Ko Lin

Firefighters at the scene on Monday. CNA photo Dec. 21, 2020

Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) The Taoyuan Office of Labor Inspection on Monday ordered a local pharmaceutical firm to temporarily suspend production after one of its workers died in a fire the previous day.

Su Chih-hsiang (蘇志翔), who heads the labor office's manufacturing industry section, said the order was issued to Sci Pharmtech Inc. as on-site conditions are still deemed too unsafe for employees to resume work, following a preliminary inspection of the damage.

According to Su, the company's warehouse located nearby can continue delivery operations as normal.

The blaze, which started around noon Sunday at a five- story Sci Pharmtech factory in Taoyuan, resulted in the death of a Filipino migrant worker and injury to another employee who was discharged from hospital after being treated for burns to his hand.

US Imports: If pork proven safe, I will eat it, critic says

OUT IN THE COLD: Su Wei-shuo and activists took a letter and poem to the AIT asking the US not to export meat containing ractopamine to Taiwan, but they were not received

Taipei Times
Date:  Dec 22, 2020
By: Aaron Tu and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with Staff writer

From left, Civil Alliance Against Poisoned Pork spokesman Lee Chien-cheng, farmers’ advocate Yang Ju-men, alliance member Wang Wen-hsin, clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo and others hold a news conference outside the American Institute in Taiwan in Taipei’s Neihu District yesterday.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

.Clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩), who has been accused of spreading false information about the effects of ractopamine on humans, yesterday said he would eat pork containing the drug if the president could prove it was safe.

Su, who has been an outspoken critic of such imports from the US, and who the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has expressed support for, is under investigation after the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Oct. 28 filed a formal complaint against him with the police, for allegedly spreading misinformation about ractopamine in contravention of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).

Su has previously said ractopamine causes autism and that it is 250 times more toxic than the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, among other claims.

At a news conference in front of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), Su and other anti-ractopamine activists called on the government to halt its plan to import US pork containing ractopamine residue.    [FULL  STORY]

MOTC mulls railway track expansions

FASTER TRAIN TRAVEL: The transport ministry’s planned upgrades to sections throughout Taiwan, to be finished by 2027, are under review at the Executive Yuan

Taipei Times
Date: Dec 21, 2020
By: Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

The first Puyuma Express train to run from Taitung to Pingtung counties on the South Link Line runs along the east coast yesterday.
Photo provided by trainspotter Lao Hou via CNA

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday said it is studying the feasibility of upgrading certain single-track railway sections to dual tracks, after the electrification of all Taiwan’s major railways has been completed.

The South Link Line became fully electrified yesterday after seven years of construction.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) marked the occasion with a ride on a Puyuma Express train from Taichung Railway Station to Taimali Station (太麻里) in Taitung County, accompanied by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).

Travelers would no longer need to change from electric express trains to diesel-powered trains when transferring to the South Link Line, Tsai said at a ceremony in Taitung.