ISSUE 141                                                                                      May 12, 2022
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● Featured Editorial: 
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week

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Amid Surging Pandemic, Queues Form Across Taiwan to Buy Home Test Kits
The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus of the Legislative Yuan revealed that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is taking the advantage of the surging pandemic situation to profit specific DPP-friendly manufacturers unspecialized in medical devices by providing them special permit to import rapid test kits.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
Featured News

Pro-DPP Small Businesses Devouring Rapid Test Kit Orders

Summary Report by Taiwan Weekly


With the sharply surging pandemic situation in Taiwan but an insufficient supply of rapid test kits, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) gave a project approval for 22 companies to import test kits, one of which was Golden Global Biomedicine, Ltd. The company was disclosed as having a capital of only NT$2 million (about US$67,440), but won a bid of an order for 1.6 billion rapid test kits, suspected of benefit transfer therein. The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus of the Legislative Yuan requested on April 6 to publicize the minutes of resolution meeting for winning bidders. They also went to the Control Yuan to accuse both Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung and Director-General Wu Hsiu-mei of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MOHW, of malfeasance while urging the Control Yuan to investigate the fraud case of Golden Global Biomedicine.

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Featured Editorial
The pandemic in Taiwan is surging. The public urgently needs rapid test kits, but the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen, unprepared for the last two years, is taking the opportunity to benefit pro-DPP manufacturers.
(Photo from: China Times)

Who is Profiting from the Pandemic?

United Daily News Editorial, May 7, 2022


The number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surged past 36,000 a day, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) predicted that the daily caseload would reach 100,000 by May 11, making people across Taiwan get themselves into a panic. At the same time, it was widely reported that supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) grabbed the import market share of the rapid test kits while they are in short supply. In one case, Golden Global Biomedicine was a "snack bar turned biomedical company" which had reportedly taken a NT$1.6 billion (about US$53.8 million) order with a capital of only NT$2 million (about US$67,300). Golden Global announced that it “revoked the contract” immediately after the debt record of the person in charge was made public, and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, even cried foul for it, claiming that it was unfair to the "reliable enterprise". Minister Chen's yardstick for "reliability" was intriguing.

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Featured Opinion
According to a commentator, Taiwan is at the core of U.S.-China competition and should learn from the Russia-Ukraine War the importance of avoiding war.
(Photo from: China Times)

What is Taiwan Learning from the Russia-Ukraine War?

By Wang Po-yuan

United Daily News, May 4, 2022


The Russia-Ukraine war on the surface was the result of the accumulation of old and new scores between the two countries, but behind the scene it was not without the power manipulation by the United States. After the outbreak of the war, President Joe Biden repeatedly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s immoral attacks on civilians, and vowed that the United States will firmly support Ukraine’s fight for its freedom, democracy and survival. The U.S. coined the Russian-Ukraine war as democracy against totalitarianism, justice against aggression, and called on countries of the same belief to join its ranks. Not to be outdone, Russia warned the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other countries of the real danger of a third World War if they continue to support Ukraine. The two sides each drew alliances, split the world into two, and disintegrated “globalization” into “two hemispheres.”

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This Week in Taiwan
The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics announced that the consumer price index (CPI) grew at an annual rate of 3.38 percent, the largest increase in more than 9.5 years and the second time in two consecutive months exceeding 3 percent.
(Photo from: China Times)
May 2: The Russia-Ukraine War is affecting military production capacity of the United States. The Department of State notified Taiwan that the first arms sale by the administration of President Joe Biden, 40 units of the M109A6 howitzer for about $750 million, would be suspended. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed that the United States has informed Taiwan that the arms will not be delivered until at least 2026. In addition, Taiwan's procurement of man-portable stinger missiles may also see delayed delivery. The MND will continue to ask that the United States perform the contract. 
May 2: At a April 23 seminar discussing the 70th anniversary of the Treaty of San Francisco and Treaty of Taipei, President Chen Yi-shen of the Academia Historica described Taiwan's political status as undetermined, attracting criticism. In his report to the Legislative Yuan on May 2, Chen changed his stance and siad that Taiwan's international legal status was undetermined in the past but determined now. He emphasized that Taiwan established its sovereignty through "effective self-determination," including parliamentary and presidential elections. 
May 3: It has been six days since the registration system for purchasing rapid test kits launched, but people complained that they are unable to purchase the home test kits successfully. Mayor Hou Yu-ih of New Taipei stated that New Taipei residents have to wait a month on average to buy one box. Ruling and opposition party legislators demand further price reduction, but Minister Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), cited concerns about hoarding if the test kits are sold very cheaply. 
May 4: The pandemic is surging, and people are unable to buy the rapid test kits, stirring a public outcry. At a central standing committee of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), President Tsai Ing-wen spoke harshly, demanding that the executive branch import significantly more rapid test kits, open up commercial channels, and allow the public to purchase the test kits from the market as soon as possible. According to the latest reports on May 8, major convenience store and pharmacy chains in Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, and Taoyuan are scheduled to sell Abbott rapid test kits, limited at one set per person for NT$180 (about US$6).
May 4: According to media reports, the Liaoning aircraft carrier led the largest fleet of ships in recent years to cross the first island chain, passing through the Miyako Strait of the Ryukyu Islands and heading to the western Pacific. 
Japan sent a quasi-aircraft carrier Izumo to monitor. The Liaoning aircraft carrier group is expected to travel south along the east coast of Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean and is likely to face up with the USS Lincoln in the Philippine Sea. 
May 5: The Executive Yuan will adopt a new wave of organizational reform plans affecting six ministries, including upgrading the Council of Agriculture to the Ministry of Agriculture, upgrading the Environmental Protection Agency to the Ministry of the Environment, establishing a new National Park Agency under the Ministry of the Interior, and restructuring the Atomic Energy Council as a Council on Nuclear Energy Safety. The bill will be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation, and the changes are expected to take effect next year. 
May 5: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rages on. The number of confirmed cases in a single day exceeded 30,000, up from 10,000 during the same week. The CECC announced that starting May 12, people who are quarantining at home, self-management, or isolating at home will be deemed "positive" by a rapid test and remote confirmation by a physician. People no longer have to travel to obtain PCR tests, and follow-up isolation will be arranged by local health authorities. 
May 6: The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics announced that the consumer price index (CPI) in April grew 3.38 percent on an annual basis. This is the largest increase in more than 9.5 years, and the figure has exceeded 3 percent for two consecutive months.
Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation and Association of Foreign Relations 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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