ISSUE 59                                                                                   October 1, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Foreign Minister: Taiwan Will Not Seek Diplomatic Relations with U.S. For Now
In an exclusive interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said that while U.S.-Taiwan relations have made significant progress recently, Taiwan will not seek official diplomatic relations for now.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

Official Diplomatic Relations with U.S.? Foreign Minister: Not For Now

China Times, September 25, 2020


As the election campaigns in the United States as well as U.S.-China diplomatic confrontation and military rivalry continue to intensify, there have been calls for establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan. However, during a recent exclusive interview with the American National Public Radio (NPR), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu emphasized that although U.S.-Taiwan relations have made great progress lately, we are not seeking to establish comprehensive diplomatic relations for now. Spokeswoman Joanne Ou of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also added that the U.S.-Taiwan relations is at its best state, and both sides will focus on deepening the pragmatic partnership.


Consecutive Visits by U.S. Senior Officials Leaves Room for Imagination


Compared to the confrontations between the United States and China, the relationship between the United States and Taiwan has improved drastically. In May of this year, Republican Representative Michael McCaul proposed that recognizing Taiwan as an independent country would be the most severe punishment to Beijing.

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Featured Editorial
According to media commentary, the pro-U.S., anti-China approach taken by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has worsened tensions in cross-strait relations. The recent decline in President Tsai's approval rating due to lifting import restrictions on U.S. pork containing ractopamine is a major warning.
(Photo from: Fair Winds Foundation)

Pro-U.S., Anti-China Policy May Not Convince Popular Opinion

China Times Editorial, September 25, 2020


The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen adopted its pro-United States, anti-China policy, straining the relations across the Taiwan Straits. However, under the wave of populism, the path of extremism had, on the contrary, made the popularity of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration rise. In August, in almost all opinion polls, the approval rates of the president and the premier jumped to between 60 percent and 70 percent, making President Tsai so confident as to lift the ban on the import of American pork and beef without any social communication. However, public opinion was not alone. According to the latest TVBS survey, as high as 64 percent of the respondents opposed the opening of importation of American pork containing ractopamine, while only 22 percent support it. And President Tsai's satisfaction rating also dropped by 4 percent, while his dissatisfaction rating surged by 9%.


Whether the importation of pork containing ractopamine should be liberalized was related to people's health. It was really a livelihood issue, and had nothing to do with ideology or global strategy. However, President Tsai, together with officials at different level and the DPP legislators, has been playing the "international status card" and the "anti-China card", saying that opening up the import of American pork containing ractopamine from the United States would win stronger support from this exporter. As a result, Taiwan’s international status would be upgraded and its capability to "confront China" would be strengthened. However, according to a TVBS poll, even if we could grab the "U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement" to enhance our international status, more than half of the respondents still disagreed with the said import liberalization, with only more than 30 percent saying yes.

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Featured Opinion
According to Su Chi, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, if military conflict were to erupt in the Taiwan Strait, many people expect that the United States will come to Taiwan's rescue. But in reality, while it may be willing, the United States is unable to do much.
(Photo from: China Times)

The United States and Cross-Strait Military Balance 

By Su Chi
China Times, September 29, 2020


As a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait looms larger every day, many people in Taiwan continue to bask in the fond memories of 1996 when two U.S. carrier groups came to its rescue. The hard reality today, however, is that the U.S. may still be more than willing to save Taiwan, it is less than capable to do so. 


The U.S. military power was at its apex during the entire decade of the 1990s. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, and the People’s Republic of China had yet to launch its military modernization. The annual defense budget of the U.S. was equivalent to the sum total of the next nine countries. In 1993, the United States tried to board a Chinese cargo ship Yinhe during its voyage in the Indian Ocean for inspection of chemical weapons materials. Yinhe resisted for 33 days before it finally complied. In 1994, the Kitty Hawk carrier group tracked and had a 70-hour faceoff with a Chinese nuclear submarine in the Yellow Sea, simulating multiple attacks. In 1996 the Taiwan Strait Crisis ended in China’s embarrassment. In 1999, U.S. fighter jets even blew up the Chinese embassy in the former Yugoslavia, injuring several people. The U.S. apologized and disciplined a handful of officials. 

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Featured News
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung confirmed that Taiwan has signed a contract with Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) to procure coronavirus vaccines but will not purchase vaccines from mainland China.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Taiwan Signs Contract with COVAX to Procure Coronavirus Vaccines But Refuses Vaccines from China

News Compiled and Reported by Taiwan Weekly


As the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads all over the world, the people of Taiwan are eagerly anticipating vaccines. On September 25, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung stated in the Legislative Yuan that Taiwan had signed contract with Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), the international acquisition mechanism for COVID-19, and down payment would be made in early October. So far, it was not certain when vaccine could be obtained but we had confidence that COVAX would distribute fairly. At present, COVAX has nine coronavirus vaccines entering into third stage of clinic trials, among which mainland China owns four. But Chen said definitely we would not select vaccine made in China, as of yet there was no plan to purchase with public fund vaccines made in China.

Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan of Taiwan People’s Party questioned that there were 156 countries admitted in the COVAX, whether signing contract could guarantee to obtain vaccine and when to get it? Will there be international intervention to block us from obtaining vaccine? Minister Chen said COVAX could not confirm a timetable, the vaccine to be grasped was yet to confirm. Up to now the platform had not much political intervention, he was quite confidence in the fair distribution of vaccine and he affirmed that we definitely would not select vaccine made in China. Officials said we signed the contract with rights of options, so the price was relatively higher.

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This Week in Taiwan
According to a new book authored by Forbes Senior Editor Dan Alexander, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, borrowed some $50 million from Taiwan's Mega Bank during his time at the White House. Kushner was also a guarantor in the loan case.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)

September 22: On September 21, the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office concluded its investigation of the bribery case concerning various legislators. It determined that the principal of Pacific Distribution Investment Company, Lee Heng-lung, in order to seize business control of the SOGO department stores, bribed legislators and legislative aides with NT$37.7 million (about US$1.3 million) over nine years. Among them, Legislator Su Chen-ching used his uncle Su Jia-chyuan's political rank within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to demand NT$25.8 million (about US$886,000), the most, in bribes.

The prosecution indicted 12 people including incumbent legislators Su Chen-ching, Liao Kuo-tung, Chen Chao-ming, and Chao Cheng-yu, as well as former Legislator Hsu Yung-ming, and asked for heavier sentencing.

The Taipei District Court found that it was necessary to detain Su, Chen, and Liao for corruption charges. Based on the separation of powers, the Legislative Yuan approved the detention.

September 22: The Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee (CIPAS) identified the Chinese Association for Relief and Ensuing Services (CARES) as an affiliated organization of the Kuomintang (KMT). CIPAS Chairman Lin Feng-cheng stated that CARES retained national assets accumulated from the party state era, with a current value of approximately NT$1.3 billion (about US$44.6 million), including about NT$500 million (about US$17.2 million) cash, about NT$860 million (about US$29.5 million) in real property. The assets will become frozen.

CARES was originally named the Chinese Mainland Relief Association. The organization was established in 1950 and acquired its current name in 2000.

September 23: Taiwan exported 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including 18 Filipinos and one Japanese who was confirmed positive when he entered an airport in Japan after departing Taiwan. The 18 cases involving Filipinos contacted a total of 372 people in Taiwan. Some 202 individuals were tested with negative results.

September 23: In his new book White House, Inc., Forbes Senior Editor Dan Alexander revealed that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, once took a US$50 million loan from Taiwan's Mega Bank. According to Mega Bank, Wells Fargo hosted a joint loan of US$175 million to real estate developers, and Kushner was one of the shareholders and one of three guarantors. The sum of $50 million was fully paid off in December 2018.

September 24: Beginning around 6:45 AM, a number of fighter jets whizzed across the skies of Taipei. As they saw helicopter formations fly through the city center, many people worried whether war had begun. According to the Ministry of National Defense, this is a first rehearsal drill for the performances on October 10, the National Day of the Republic of China. To conduct a half-force rehearsal, the Armed Forces dispatched one Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, two Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, three General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircrafts, and three AIDC AT-3 jet trainers. On September 29, a full-force rehearsal will be held.

September 25: A third company of Taiwan's national face mask production team was caught cheating. In Kaohsiung, a mask-producing company Jing Sin violated regulations by privately setting up mask production lines and intending to sell masks for profit. Investigation officials of the prosecution seized two machines and more than 70,000 pieces of face masks, and the company's principal was released on a bail of NT$300,000 (about US$10,000). The Health Bureau of the Kaohsiung City Government imposed a fine of NT$2 million (about US$68,000) for violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.

Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s), and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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