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By On October 17, 2018

Mass rally in Taiwan to be held in rebuke to Beijing

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File photo of flags placed by pro-Taiwan independence activists to promote a referendum on the streets in Taipei, on July 26, 2018.
File photo of flags placed by pro-Taiwan independence activists to promote a referendum on the streets in Taipei, on July 26, 2018.
Published6 hours ago

TAIPEI • Taiwan independence campaigners will take to the streets on Saturday for what they hope will be a major rally in a rebuke to Beijing and a challenge to the island's already embattled government.

The protest in central Taipei comes as China increasingly pushes its claims on the self-ruling island and President Tsai Ing-wen struggles to appease Beijing and independence factions.

Organised by the new Formosa Alliance, which is backed by two pro-independence former Taiwan presidents, Mr Lee Teng-hui and Mr Chen Shui-bian, the rally will call for a public vote on whether the island should formally declare independence from China.

It is the first potentially large-scale protest calling for an outright independence vote since Taiwan declared its democracy over 20 years ago.

Organisers say they aim to draw 100,000 people.

"Every Taiwanese should get to choose Taiwan's future. It should be a decision by the 23.57 million Taiwanese people, not by China or Xi Jinping," said veteran independence activist Kuo Pei-horng, head of the alliance.

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949. Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state, with its own currency, political and judicial systems, but has never declared formal independence from the mainland.

Beijing has warned it would respond wit h force if Taiwan tried an official split.

The Chinese authorities have said the Formosa Alliance should not go down what they called a "dangerous path". But Mr Kuo, 63, who was blacklisted by Taiwan's authoritarian Kuomintang government in the 1980s for promoting independence, says it is worth the gamble.

"I think if (China's President) Xi were ready to invade Taiwan, his troops would have already come or he could have found any excuse to do it," Mr Kuo told the Agence France-Presse.

Beijing is already incensed by a referendum that will take place in November asking for the island to compete as "Taiwan" and not "Chinese Taipei" in the next Olympics and other international sports events.

China is particularly sensitive to the island's use of names, emblems and flags, as it sees them as an expression of Taiwanese sovereignty, and under Beijing pressure, Taiwan has to compete internationally as "Ch inese Taipei".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'Mass rally in Taiwan to be held in rebuke to Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe Topics:
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Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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By On October 17, 2018

A US Navy ship stopped at a port in Taiwan, and China is not happy

  • Beijing expressed "solemn concerns" Wednesday after a US Navy vessel stopped in Taiwan, brushing up against China's red line.
  • Taiwan's defense ministry stated emphatically that the visit was "unrelated to military activity" amid speculation that this might be a precursor to plans for a US Navy show of force near Taiwan later this month.
  • The Thomas G. Thompson, a research vessel, has visited before, but this visit comes on the heels of a major showdown in the South China Sea.
  • Toward the end of last month, a Chinese destroyer nearly collided with a US Navy warship during a tense standoff following a close pass of Chinese-occupied islands.

A US Navy research vessel docked in Taiwan Monday, sparking concern in Beijing at a time of heightened tension betwee n the US and China.

The Thomas G. Thompson (T-AGOR-23), a research ship owned by the Office of Naval Research, arrived in Kaohsiung earlier this week to refuel and make crew changes, the Associated Press reported. The Taiwan Ministry of Defense stressed that the visit, notably not a first for this oceanographic vessel, is "unrelated to military activity."

China is "expressing our solemn concerns to the US side," Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said Wednesday, adding that Beijing "opposes all kinds of military contacts between the US and Taiwan." The US should immediately "stop all forms of official exchanges and military interactions with Taiwan and handle the Taiwan-related issues with caution," he warned.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, called on the parties involved to be cautious "in deed and avoid undermining peace and stability a cross the Taiwan Strait," according to China's Xinhua News Agency. "The Taiwan issue bears on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests, and we have firmly resolved to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity," Ma explained.

The US Navy research vessel is carrying around 30 scientists from Taiwan, the Philippines, and the US, the Liberty Times reported, adding that the ship will conduct oceanographic research in the South China Sea.

The presence of a US naval vessel, even one engaging in non-military activities, at a port in Taiwan makes Beijing very uncomfortable.

"The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our People's Liberation Army unites Taiwan with military force," Li Kexin, the minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said last year. The latest visit has not crossed that red line, activating China's Anti-Secession Law, which permits the use of force to defend Chinese territorial integrity.

The visit comes amid heated disputes over trade, sanctions, Chinese territorial claims to the South China Sea, and arms sales to Taiwan. Beijing's concern over the arrival of the Thomas G. Thompson in Taiwan comes on the heels of another incident with a US warship.

After a recent US Navy freedom-of-navigation operation near the contested Spratly Islands, during which a US warship approached Chinese-occupied territories, a Chinese destroyer challenged the US vessel to a showdown, nearly colliding with the American ship in the process.

Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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By On October 17, 2018

Taiwan is set to become the first Asian government to recognize same-sex marriage. Now voters could halt that

More than a year after a landmark legal ruling cleared the way for Taiwan to become the first place in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage, Taiwanese voters could reverse that distinction if they approve a ballot initiative declaring that marriage should be limited only to people of opposite sexes.

The initiative, one of three LGBTQ-related measures on the Nov. 24 ballot, could slow, or even halt, implementation of a court ruling that ordered the island to change its civil code by removing a provision that effectively banned same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Court ordered the change be made by May 2019.

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A second ballot measure asks whether a process other than the civil code should protect same-sex “long-term communal living,” while a third seeks to eliminate any classroom lessons on the island ab out same-sex marriage.

Analysts in Tiawan said the measures are too close to call.

LGBTQ rights activists had hailed last year’s court ruling as a milestone for Asia, where no other government recognizes same-sex marriage, despite efforts in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Religion and conservative values throughout the continent have slowed the advance of same-sex marriage proposals in other countries.

Now, if voters approve the measure to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples, lawmakers and government officials would be forced to reconsider how, or whether, to change the civil code as ordered by the court.

“As a gay parent and individual, I will have less confidence in the government and legislature to enact marriage-equality protections” if the one-man, one-woman measure passes, said Jay Lin, who works with Asia’s largest online movie service. “It’s been such a long fight and no guarantee what May 2019 might u ltimately bring for Taiwan.”

The Taiwan political action group Coalition for the Happiness of our Next Generation, which questions same-sex marriage, is pushing the two primary measures. “What the law must protect is public order and good customs, and same-sex marriage is actually not love for Taiwan,” coalition member Yu Hsin-yi said on his Facebook page.

Protesters chant anti-same-sex marriage slogans during 2016 protests outside parliament in Taipei, Taiwan.
Protesters chant anti-same-sex marriage slogans during 2016 protests outside parliament in Taipei, Taiwan. (Sam Yeh / AFP/Getty Images)

Opponents of same-sex marriage had kept largely quiet before the Constitutional Court ruling last May, but mobilized quickly afterward. Some opponents said that same-sex marriage runs counter to their Christian beliefs, while others said it violated traditional Chinese family values. The island’s political leaders have largely side-stepped the issue.

“This is a bipolar issue in our society â€" both sides have very strong support and sponsorship,” said Joanna Lei, chief executive of the Taiwan-based Chunghua 21st Century think tank.

The ruling party majority in parliament has yet to discuss how it would handle last year’s court ruling if the ballot measure opposing same-sex marriage passes. Experts expect legislators to leave the civil code as is if the measure passes, but explore other means to help same-sex couples.

“The legal implications would be that a separate law is made to address same-sex marriage â€" not in the name of marriage, perhaps same-sex union or something like that â€" instead of just modifying the civil law,” said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.

Initiatives that ga ther about 280,000 signatures qualify for elections in Taiwan. An initiative passes if a majority of 25% of eligible voters cast ballots in favor.

Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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By On October 17, 2018

Navy research vessel docks in Taiwan amid tensions with China

BEIJING â€" A U.S. Navy research vessel has docked in Taiwan amid tensions with China over trade and arms sales.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says the Thomas G. Thompson arrived in the southern port of Kaohsiung on Monday to refuel and make crew changes. It quoted Defense Minister Yen De-fa as saying its visit is “unrelated to military activity.”

China objects to all governmental and military contact between the U.S. and Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory to be conquered by force if necessary.

In Beijing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was "expressing our solemn concerns to the U.S. side" over the visit.

China "opposes all kinds of military contacts between the U.S. and Taiwan," Lu said. The U.S. should "stop all forms of official exchanges and military interactions with Taiwan, and handle the Taiwan-related issues with caution," he said.

Though it's not the first time the Thomas G. Thompson has stopped in Taiwan, this visit comes during a particularly sensitive time in U.S.-China relations.

China has demanded the U.S. cancel a $330 million sale of spare parts and related support for Taiwan's U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets and other military aircraft. While Washington has no official relations with Taiwan, it is legally obligated to ensure it has the means to defend itself.

The arms sale was announced amid a trade feud fueled by U.S. accusations that China runs an abnormally large surplus with the U.S., engages in cyber-theft and coerces foreign companies into handing over technology.

That has led the U.S. to impose punitive tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. Beijing has counterpunched with import taxes on $110 billion of American products.

The two have also feuded over Chin ese weapons purchases from Russia and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea â€" where the U.S. says a Chinese destroyer came aggressively close to a Navy ship late last month, forcing it to maneuver to prevent a collision.

China's relations with Taiwan are largely frozen because the president of the self-governing democracy, Tsai Ing-wen, refuses to concede to Beijing's demand that she recognize the island as a part of China. That's led Beijing to use its influence to narrow Taiwan's ability to participate in international society and increase its military threat toward it.

The Thomas G. Thompson is owned by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and operated in cooperation with the University of Washington.


Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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By On October 17, 2018

Taiwan in talks with Paraguay on US$150 million investment: FM

Taiwan in talks with Paraguay on US$150 million investment: FM2018/10/17 16:31:33

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮)

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) confirmed Wednesday that Taiwan and Paraguay are discussing the details of US$150 million in investment by Taiwan and that the matter was addressed during Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez's state visit to the country last week.
However, Wu said no details have been agreed by the two sides and the exact amount of the investment has yet to be determined.
Taiwan's ambassador to the South American ally will discuss proposals with President Abdo in the near future when he is available, Wu added.
The investment is expected to come in the form of bank loans and foreign aid, he told law makers when fielding questions during a legislative session.
Wu also said the proposal does not represent a return to checkbook diplomacy competition with China for the allegiance of allies amid allegations raised by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers.
The minister said the investment will be part of the government's Official Development Assistance (ODA) designed to help countries develop infrastructure while also securing business for Taiwanese contractors.
In doing so the aim is to create "win-win-win scenarios" for Taiwanese businesses, allies and their people, he added.
Wu's comments came in response to a tweet by President Abdo Monday that Taiwan has agreed to invest US$150 million in his country on public infrastructure and education.
Paraguay has had diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1957 and is the nation's only ally in South America among 17 worldwide.
President Abdo was in Taiwan from Oct. 7 on a 5-day state visit an d also attended Double Ten National Day celebrations on Oct. 10.
During his visit, the two countries signed a joint statement that focused on promoting further cooperation in bilateral investment, trade and infrastructure.
(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW

Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan

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By On October 17, 2018

Taiwan shares end flat as earlier gains eroded

Taiwan shares end flat as earlier gains eroded2018/10/17 17:31:33

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Wednesday, staying below 10,000 points, with earlier significant gains completely erased as investors rushed to lock in their gains, dealers said.
Many investors appeared cautious despite the earlier upturn, which resulted from a higher electronics sector, at a time when trade disputes between the United States and China remain unresolved, while the on-going earnings season also prevented investors from chasing prices for the moment, they said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) or the Taiex ended down 1.96 points, or 0.02 percent, at 9,979.14, after moving between 9,978.25 and 10,127.01, on turnover of NT$114.04 billion (US$3.70 billi on).
The market opened up 0.67 percent and reached the day's high in the early morning session in the wake of a soaring Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 500 points or 2.17 percent and the tech-savvy Nasdaq index ended up 2.89 percent overnight, dealers said.
Buying focused on the bellwether electronics sector, led by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) before some investors shifted to the sell side to pocket earlier profits, making it difficult for the Taiex to stay above 10,000 points by the end of the session, they said.
"Investors have turned very cautious about the outlook of the local equity market which has become technically weaker after plunging in recent sessions," Concord Securities analyst Kerry Huang said.
"A higher Wall Street, which boosted the local equity market initially, simply provided investors with a good opportunity to dump their holdings to take the money an d run," Huang said.
Huang said the Washington-Beijing trade friction was still a concern which continues to haunt market sentiment.
"Many investors remain worried global demand in the first quarter of next year will weaken when the tariffs imposed (by Washington in September) on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods rise to 25 percent at the end of this year from the current 10 percent."
As a result, Huang said, TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, closed up only 0.63 percent at NT$238.50, off an early high of NT$243.00, with 42.47 million shares changing hands.
"Investors are just waiting for an investor conference scheduled by TSMC for tomorrow for its sales forecasts for the fourth quarter and all 2018," Huang said. "Amid fears over poor sales of the latest iPhones, TSMC, one of the most important suppliers to Apple Inc., could report disappointing guidance for the current quarter."
Among other Apple con cept stocks, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. fell 3.27 percent to end at NT$68.10 after hitting a high of NT$71.00, while shares in smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. closed unchanged at NT$3,300.00, off a high of NT$3,485.00.
Bucking the downturn suffered by its peers in the Apple supply chain, metal casing maker Catcher Technology Co. rose 2.79 percent to end at NT$313.50.
Profit taking also affected old economy and financial stocks with confidence in future market movement fragile, Huang said.
China Steel Corp., the largest steel maker in Taiwan, shed 1.23 percent to close at NT$24.15, off a high of NT$24.50, Formosa Plastics Corp. lost 0.96 percent to end at NT$103.00 after hitting NT$105.50, and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. dropped 0.87 percent to close at NT$114.50.
In the financial sector, shares in Cathay Financial Holding Co. lost 0.79 percent to end at NT$50.00 after hitting NT$50.80, while Mega Financial Holding Co. rose 0.19 percent to close at NT$26.65, off a high of NT$26.75.
"Moreover, many local investors are also afraid of more selling by foreign institutional investors, who have remained on the sell side recently," Huang said.
According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$5.58 billion worth of shares on the main board on Wednesday.
(By Frances Huang)
Enditem/AW

Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan