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Pingtung attempts to revive airport with charter flights

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 21 September, 2020
By: Leslie Liao

Hengchun Airport in Southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County recently tested a charter flight route from Manila

A small airport in southern Taiwan is looking to charter flights to bring it new life. The airport — Hengchun Airport — is located in the southernmost county of Pingtung. It’s not far from Kenting National Park, home to some of Taiwan’s most popular beaches. But, since its opening in 2004, Hengchun has faced a number of challenges, leading to a decline in passengers. Now, the local government is getting ready to test a new plan that would bring in more passengers from abroad.

Eager onlookers await the arrival of a plane from the Philippines. The Platinum Skies charter jet lands at Hengchun Airport, but it just sits on the tarmac. Nobody disembarks. The plane can seat 31 passengers, but for now, it’s empty. 

This might seem like the work of rogue pilots with too much time on their hands, but this flight is like a breath of fresh air for the Pingtung County Government. It’s the first international test flight on a new route that will bring passengers from the Philippines.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan military to allow forces to fire back after mainland Chinese air incursions

  • Defence ministry says it reserves right to act in self-defence and launch a counter-attack but will not allow conflict to escalate
  • The guidance comes after PLA warplanes crossed an unofficial dividing line in the Taiwan Strait last week

South China Morning Post
Date: 21 Sep, 2020
By: Lawrence Chung

Taiwan has redefined its rules of engagement with mainland Chinese forces, allowing its military to fire back in self-defence.The announcement comes after People’s Liberation Army warplanes crossed a median line in the Taiwan Strait last week – apparently ignoring a tacit understanding between the two sides.

“In the face of high-frequency harassment and threats from the enemy’s warships and warplanes recently … the military clearly redefined the contingency handling regulations concerning the first strike as our right to self-defence and counter attack,” the island’s defence ministry said on Monday.

It said the island’s navy and the air force must follow guidelines that state there can be “no escalation of conflict and no triggering incidents” as well as “no provocation and no fear of the enemy” and the principle that “the closer [the enemy] approaches the island, the more active [the military must be] in dealing with it”.    [FULL  STORY]

Special flight takes 289 migrant workers home to Vietnam from Taiwan

Workers had been detained for overstaying

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/09/21
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Vietnamese workers preparing to return home from Taiwan  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vietnam sent a special flight to Taiwan Monday (Sept. 21) to take 289 migrant workers home who had been interned after overstaying their legal residency period on the island.

Taking off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Monday afternoon, the flight allowed the workers to spend next month’s Mid-Autumn Festival with their families, CNA reported.

Tang Prize winner calls for action in sustainable development

Focus Taiwan
Date: 09/21/2020
By: Emerson Lim

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Jane Goodall, the laureate of the 2020 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, on Monday called for action to achieve a sustainable future for all, including respecting animals, mitigating climate change and controlling human population.

"We're going through pretty dark times right now, socially, politically and environmentally. We're in the midst of the sixth great extinction of plant and animal life," warned Goodall, a British primatologist, at the 2020 Tang Prize Master's Forum.

Goodall was named this year's Tang Prize winner for Sustainable Development in June, for her discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools and for her dedication to wildlife protection and environmental conservation.

Speaking via video conference, Goodall lamented that the current COVID-19 pandemic was a result of humans disrespecting mother nature and other animal species.   [FULL  STORY]

Legislature must approve detention of lawmakers

‘A SERIOUS BLOW’: Although the Constitution provides ways to resolve conflicts between branches, this matter could require a constitutional interpretation, a lawyer said

Taipei Times
Date: Sep 22, 2020
By: Hsieh Chun-lin and Jason Pan / Staff reporters

Police officers guard an entrance to the Legislative Yuan in Taipei in an undated photograph.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times

The continued detention of four legislators, who were yesterday indicted for bribery, requires approval from the Legislative Yuan, as the legislative session has begun, Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said yesterday.

Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) were detained last month while the legislature was in recess.

“If the Taipei District Court decides to extend the detention of the four sitting legislators, then the court must ask for permission through an official letter. Then Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) would convene cross-party negotiations to deliberate on the matter,” Lin said.

Lin cited the Additional Articles to the Constitution, which state that “no member of the Legislative Yuan may be arrested or detained without the permission of the Legislative Yuan, when that body is in session.”    [FULL  STORY]

Beijing is ready to tackle all scenarios with Taiwan

Global Times
Date: 2020/9/19
By Hu Xijin

File photo: China Military

The Taiwan-based Central News Agency reported on Saturday that another 19 fighter jets and bombers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) flew across the so-called "middle line" of the Taiwan Straits on Saturday and entered airspace close to the southwestern and northwestern parts of the island. It was unprecedented to see PLA aircraft fly close to the island of Taiwan on such a large scale for two consecutive days. 

I believe it is the PLA's practical rehearsal for an island takeover. It clearly declared that the Chinese mainland no longer tolerates the underhanded collusion between the US government and the island's secessionist forces. Such collusion has become the mainland's prior and principal target to strike. It must be stopped otherwise the PLA will continue to upgrade its military operations, until an ultimate showdown. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese mainland of "military blustering" on Friday, while the island's authorities blamed Beijing for "infringing on the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Straits" on Saturday. The Chinese mainland doesn't need to pay any attention to the nonsense-talking. 

The reason for the rising cross-Straits tensions is that Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen abandoned the "1992 Consensus" after taking office and changed the situation in the Taiwan Straits. Besides, the US has elevated its political and military ties with the island by approving the Taiwan Travel Act and increasing its arms sales to the island.     [FULL  STORY]

Coronavirus: ‘Flight to nowhere’ gives travellers their plane fix in 1,300-mile sightseeing trip

Qantas is also taking off on a sightseeing flight in October – and it sold out in minutes this week.

Sky News
Date: 19 September 2020

Passengers were in good spirits as they took to the skies again

A plane full of passengers has landed back where it took off after a round-trip "flight to nowhere" of more than 1,300 miles.

The jet flew about 650 miles north (1046 km) from Taiwan for a spot of aerial sightseeing around the South Korean holiday island of Jeju – before heading straight back.

It was designed to give people their hit of plane travel at a time when many are unwilling or unable to go on foreign holidays due to the coronavirus.

Saturday's flight by Tigerair Taiwan carried about 120 people, some wearing traditional Korean dress, and the plane circled low to give them a good view of the island.     [FULL  STORY]

4 dead, 1 injured in Central Taiwan gas explosion and fire

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/09/19
By:  Central News Agency

Four people died at the scene of a gas explosion in Taichung Saturday Sept. 19  (CNA photo)

Four people were killed and one injured in a gas explosion and ensuing fire in Taichung City's Longjing District early Saturday, the city's fire bureau said.

Firefighters found four charred bodies, including that of an 8-year-old boy, in two of the four residential buildings that burst into flames following the explosion, according to the bureau.

The bureau said it received a call at 4:17 a.m. about an explosion that occurred at a rental building near the Tunghai Villa Night Market, which quickly ignited flames and engulfed four residential buildings from across the street.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire at 5:08 a.m., the bureau said.

Kaohsiung Film Festival touts immersive entries

Focus Taiwan
Date: 09/19/2020
By: Kay Liu

“Ghost in the Shell: Ghost Chaser.” Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Film Festival

Kaohsiung, Sept. 19 (CNA) The annual Kaohsiung Film Festival will include a segment that features 3D animation, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, motion platform or interactive elements, when it opens in mid-October, the organizers said Saturday.

In the festival's XR Dreamland segment, seven films will be screened, two of which were made in Japan, the organizers said in a statement.

The Japanese entries are "Last Dance" — a 3D animation — and "Ghost in the Shell: Ghost Chaser," a VR film that requires the audience to sit on a motion platform that creates a sense of movement along the storyline, according to the statement.

The motion platform for "Ghost in the Shell: Ghost Chaser." Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Film Festival    [FULL  STORY]

Military force no answer, Japan’s Yoshiro Mori says

AN EXAMPLE: After attending a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, Mori said the former president’s career reflected the importance of peace and democracy

Taipei Times
Date: Sep 20, 2020
By: Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter

Former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori speaks in front of the EVA Sky Jet Center at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) before returning to Japan after having attended the official memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui at the Aletheia University Chapel in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Using military force to resolve conflict is no longer workable in this new era, which requires peaceful discussion, former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori said yesterday before leaving Taipei.

Mori made the remarks at a news conference in front of the EVA Sky Jet Center at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), after leading a delegation to attend the official memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水).

This was Mori’s second trip to mourn Lee; his last was on Aug. 9.

Although he walked with a crutch, Mori, 83, chose to stand right in front of reporters, instead of at a distance as was planned.    [FULL  STORY]