The nation needs to carve out a niche for itself in the power struggle between the US and China, Mainland Affairs Council adviser Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) said yesterday.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her inaugural address on Wednesday highlighted the increasing complexity of international relations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu said.
As she started her second term, Tsai reiterated that “peace, parity, democracy and dialogue” are the conditions for cross-strait exchanges and rejected Beijing’s “one country, two systems” framework.
The pandemic has affected global public health and weakened the global economy, Liu said, but the global economy is poised for a sweeping transformation as companies worldwide seek to decouple from the Chinese market by moving their production lines to other countries.
The US and China are like “two elephants wrestling” and Taiwan must tread carefully in the power struggle, he said.
A theme of Tsai’s speech was the challenges facing the nation — such as reviving the domestic economy, responding to changes within China and diversifying exports — but the more complicated international politics and economics become, the more diligent the nation should work at navigating them, Liu added.
Just as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co is planning to build a US$12 billion semiconductor plant in Arizona and Taiwan is teaming up with private firms to export masks, the government should collaborate with tech companies to tap into foreign markets, he said.
The nation’s robust information technology and precision machinery sectors coupled with its successful COVID-19 response mean that the nation is well poised to expand its international space in the post-COVID-19 era, Liu said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is likely preoccupied with the domestic economic fallout of the pandemic, as factories struggle to obtain orders after resuming work in February, which could seriously hurt China’s GDP growth, he said.
Perhaps out of consideration for China’s misfortune, Tsai’s speech did not present a new narrative of cross-strait relations, he said, adding that Beijing would hopefully read between the lines and sense Tsai’s goodwill.
US professor Tario Ong (翁達瑞) said that Tsai made no mention of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in her speech, meaning that the party is “not in the president’s blueprint for the nation.”
The world order has been reshaped by the pandemic and more members of the international community sympathize with Taiwan, Ong said, adding that this — compounded by a successful recall vote against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) on June 6 — could be the undoing of the nation’s “conservative forces.”
The KMT is likely to have few roles, if any, in Tsai’s “Taiwan Utopia,” he added.
Tsai’s second-term inauguration speech reiterated the cross-strait policy introduced in the speech she gave after winning January’s presidential election, which expressed her hope that Xi would rethink his cross-strait policy, said Bonnie Glaser, director of the Washington-based think tank Center of Strategic and International Studies China Power Project.
Beijing, instead of pushing cross-strait relations in its hoped-for direction, should avoid a worst-case scenario, as Tsai would never accept the so-called “1992 consensus” or that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, she added.
Beijing’s Taiwan policy lacks flexibility, which might not improve, she said, predicting that it might increase military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General