ISSUE 89                                                                                          May 6, 2021
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


Is Taiwan the Most Dangerous Place on Earth?
The cover story of the latest issue of The Economist described Taiwan as the most dangerous place on Earth. The publication argues that Taiwan has become a battleground between the United States and China, and the two powers must work harder to avoid going to war over Taiwan.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

The Economist Describes Taiwan as Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Scholars Concerned

China Times and United Daily News, May 1, 2021


The cover image of the most recent issue of The Economist places a radar map with Taiwan in the center, a mainland Chinese flag to the left, and an American flag to the right, symbolizing the fierce rivalry between China and the United States.


The cover story indicates that, should war break out, not only there will be bloodshed in Taiwan, the risk of war between two nuclear powers will also escalate. Economy is another major reason. Taiwan lies at the heart of the semiconductor industry. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) etches 84 percent of the most advanced chips. Were the production by TSMC to stop, so would the global electronics industry. TSMC's technology and know-how are perhaps a decade ahead of its rivals', and it will take many years of work before either the United States or China can hope to catch up.

Featured Opinion
According to media commentary, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) manufactures 84 percent of the world's advanced chips, so Taiwan cannot be replaced in a short period of time. But as Europe and the United States begin to construct wafer plants, how long can Taiwan still rely upon TSMC as a protector?
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Taiwan Described “Most Dangerous Place on Earth,” Security in Taiwan Strait Cannot Only Rely Upon TSMC

By Yin Tsui-mei

United Daily News, April 30, 2021


That the cover story of the latest issue of The Economist described Taiwan as “the most dangerous place on Earth” is quite shocking to us, although this is not the first time the publication has put forward similar arguments. When responding to the timetable for potential conflicts in the Taiwan Strait, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, indicated that the threat is manifest in the decade, in fact in the next six years. This is quite horrifying to the people in Taiwan.


Regarding whether there will be an outbreak of war in the Taiwan Strait, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still responding using diplomatic language, stating that the so-called “danger” in The Economist analysis comes from China and that Chinese expansion and intimidation spearheads not only to Taiwan but also East China Sea, South China Sea, and South Asia as well. Chinese actions have severely harmed regional security, the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and peace in Indo-Pacific region as a whole.

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Featured Editorial
According to media commentary, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) was unable to prevent an outbreak at Novotel in the first place, resulting in the possibility of transmission in Taiwan. These are consequences of the government's mistaken vaccine policy and epidemic prevention management. 
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Pilot Infection Sparks Epidemic Storm: Mend the Policy Loopholes First

United Daily News Editorial, May 2, 2021


The cluster infection of the China Airlines pilots is spreading to 10 pilots, further extending to clusters of five families and some hotel employees. The China Airlines quarantine hotel has four confirmed cases among its employees. Ironically, Taoyuan International Airport just announced last year’s cargo volume ranked the fourth in the world. Just as the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen is complacent with Taiwan’s historical success to weather the epidemic, the pilots are defeated by the epidemic first, and by extension, the Muslim mosque and schools become loopholes and consequently the quarantine hotel has fallen, constituting the most severe threat of a community outbreak since the start of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is the consequence of the wrong vaccine policy and the slack epidemic prevention management.


Early this year, the Taoyuan General Hospital of the Ministry of Health and Welfare had a cluster infection incident because the hospital did not implement the segregation and diversion practice to stem possible virus circulation in the wards on different floors. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) did not clear the hospital at first, and the clearing project was implemented only after the outbreak spread. However, this time it is far thornier than the Taoyuan incident.

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This Week in Taiwan
It has been two weeks since China Airlines pilots contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Novotel saw cluster infection, but the CECC, Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and Taoyuan City Government are still arguing about which is in charge of the epidemic prevention hotel. The outbreak was apparently "man-made." Pictured above is Novotel located near the Taoyuan International Airport.
(Photo from: China Times)
April 25: During the first trial operation of the Green line of the Taichung Metro, a train coupling failure occurred, and service became suspended. After repair and second trial operation, the Taichung Metro officially commenced service on April 25. President Tsai Ing-wen, former President Ma Ying-jeou, and five incumbent and former mayors of Taipei and Taichung attended the opening ceremony. Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen stated that the city finally has its first metro line after 13 years of construction. 
April 26: The three main battleships "Long March No. 18," "Dalian," and "Hainan" of the mainland Chinese navy were put into service at the Sanya Naval Port in Hainan Province on April 23. This is the first time that the mainland Navy enlisted three ships on the same day. At the Legislative Yuan, Director-General Chen Ming-tong of National Security Bureau (NSB) stated that the NSB is fully aware of the developments, and China's posture in the South China Sea has caused tense relations in the neighboring region. It is understood that the ongoing Hankuang simulation exercise is setting these new warships of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as exercise targets. 
April 26: Affected by drought, agricultural losses since March have totaled nearly NT$430 million. According to the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, the drought conditions are alleviating for the first time. From April 21 to 25, rainfall in the flatlands, mountains, fields, and river basins of central and southern Taiwan benefited rice fields and fruit trees in the non-irrigated areas of Kaohsiung and Pingtung, improving the growth conditions of crops. 
April 27: On April 16, 10 men in black broke into the Songshan precinct in Taipei, clamored and destroyed a computer. The police not only failed to investigate but also claimed that no video of the incident was recorded due to power outage. The precinct even arranged the man in black and an athletic coach who was battered to shake hands and reconcile peacefully in front of the police station. But the case took a negative turn on April 27. Police Chief Chen Chia-chang of the Taipei City Police Department confirmed at the city council that the video of the police station director was deleted erroneously, the video has since been restored, and some 10 individuals, including the perpetrator, precinct directors, and deputy directors were submitted to further investigation. The National Police Administration also removed Lin Chih-cheng from the position of division director to serve internally instead in the city police department.
April 28: The Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that each victim of the Taroko Express rail accident will be compensated NT$15.7 million (about US$563 million) , plus NT$15 million (US$538 million) in donations, for a total of NT$30.7 million (about US1.1 million) per victim. The compensation sets a record in Taiwan for all sea, land, and air accidents. 
May 1: Chao Chie-you, son of convener Chao Ing-kuang of the review committee of the Taipei branch of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was involved in a drug case that intensified. From public security, police discipline, to prolonged party factional struggles, the Kuomintang criticized the DPP for governing with gang members, seriously upsetting the image of the DPP. It is reported that President Tsai Ing-wen, who is also chairwoman of the DPP, was furious, and the Taipei party branch promptly handled the resignation of the older Chao. An interim jury committee meeting was held; a new convener was elected; and the younger Chao was expelled from the party. 
May 2: The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed that four employees of Novotel in Taipei tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) . This is the first incident of cluster transmission at an epidemic prevention hotel in Taiwan. Novotel was ordered to be cleared for two weeks, and epidemic prevention hotels around Taiwan will be comprehensively inspected.
As of May 1, the China Airlines and Novotel incident has counted 10 infected pilots, 10 domestic confirmed cases, and five family cluster infections. The first confirmed case at Novotel, case 1120, was infected with the British variant of the virus. It was confirmed that the China Airlines pilot and Novotel cluster transmission were related. 
As of May 2, four additional domestic cases were reported. This cluster, including the Australian pilot who tested positive, includes 24 positive cases, officially surpassing the 21 cases in the earlier Taoyuan Hospital incident.
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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