ISSUE 142                                                                                      May 19, 2022
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

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State Department Updates Web Page, Testing Cross-Strait Relations
On its official website, the U.S. Department of State deleted references to Taiwan as part of China and non-support of Taiwan independence.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

State Department Web Page Removes "Part of China" Reference About Taiwan

United Daily News, May 11, 2022


MOFA: U.S. Commitment to Taiwan Rock-Solid


On May 5, the United States Department of State made a substantial update to its U.S.-Taiwan relations "fact sheet.” The references describing that Taiwan is part of China and the U.S. does not support Taiwan independence were removed. They were replaced with a statement that the United States has a longstanding one-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances. The State Department spokesperson told the reporter that the U.S. one-China policy has not changed. Both the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs separately stated yesterday that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid.

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Featured Opinion
According to a commentator, the United States recently revised the description of its "One China" policy. However, if the global economy continues to deteriorate, the possibility of conflict in the Taiwan Strait cannot be precluded.
(Photo from: China Times)

Has the U.S. "One China" Policy Changed?

By Su Yong-lin

China Times, May 12, 2022


After the United States Department of State website deleted sensitive statements such as "does not support Taiwan independence" and "acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China,"  Kurt Campbell, the White House National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, and Spokesman Ned Price of the State Department immediately reiterated that their position of "not supporting Taiwan independence" remains unchanged. Is this a “singing a duet,”  or just a sudden stop? For the time being there were different assumptions. However, at least there is one thing certain, that is, that the political differences between the United States and China are still under a certain degree of control at this stage, and the situation in the Taiwan Strait has not yet reached a breakout point.

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Featured Editorial
According to media commentary, the constitutional interpretation ruling on ractopamine pork shows that Taiwan's judiciary has become subservient to politics.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Tsai Administration's Judicial Reform, Social Justice Gone?

United Daily News Editorial, May 15, 2022


The Constitutional Court upheld the Executive Yuan’s letter notice nullifying local ordinances passed by various local legislatures mandating zero detection of ractopamine additive in imported pork. Local legislatures and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) expressed regret that local autonomy and concern for people’s health was stifled by the justices of the Judicial Yuan. However, such an outcome was expected by the public, as the Executive Yuan had already conveyed "political instruction” to the same effect. This is also not the first time that the justices helped the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen overcoming a problem with a procedural or substantive constitutional interpretation. The government's decision is not the first of its kind, but it suggests that President Tsai’s judicial reforms have been rendered moot.

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This Week in Taiwan
President Joe Biden of the United States signed Taiwan-friendly legislation passed by the Congress to assist Taiwan's return to the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
May 9: In 2019, the Control Yuan impeached prosecutor Chen Lung-hsiang who investigated former Legislator Tuan Yi-kang's case about an unfulfilled promise of swallowing a hockey puck. However, the impeachment was rejected by the Civil Service Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Yuan. In support of Chen, outgoing prosecutor-general Chiang Hui-min criticized "specific individuals" in the Control Yuan for infringing the Constitution and undermining prosecutorial independence, causing a serious chilling effect. 
May 11: At the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 10, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testified that China is actively building up its military to the point where it can take over Taiwan without fear of U.S. intervention. The period from now until 2030 will be critical and urgent. 
Director Scott Berrier of the Defense Intelligence Agency testified that China would prefer not to use force and would rather achieve unification peacefully. He would also like China to learn from the war in Ukraine that invading Taiwan is highly risky and difficult. 
May 12: A new system in which those in home quarantine, self-monitoring, or home isolation are confirmed positive by rapid testing and physician confirmation without a PCR test took effect. However, many who would like to consult a doctor by video conference were encumbered by administrative delays, leading to doctors unable to provide diagnoses. 
May 12: The pandemic surges, and 64,446 confirmed cases were added in a single day, with Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan all breaking 10,000. But on Facebook, President Tsai Ing-wen praised Taiwan's epidemic prevention team for its excellent performance. 
Mayor Hou Yu-ih of New Taipei responded that the reality is definitely not what the president said. He called for confirmation by rapid tests to apply to all subjects. Otherwise, Taiwan's medical capacity may experience overcrowding. 
Mayor Ko Wen-je of Taipei also stated that if the central government insists on giving anti-viral drugs only after a positive PCR test, many would surely die.
May 12: Factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war, the pandemic, and interest rate hikes in the United States continue to impact the global economy. In his report at the Legislative Yuan, Chairman Yang Chin-long of the Central Bank stated that Taiwan's economic growth rate this year may dip below 4 percent. And due to rising commodity prices, the annual consumer price index (CPI) is expected to grow by more than 2 percent. 
May 13: After the central government lifted import restrictions on ractopamine pork, many local legislatures passed local ordinances requiring zero detection of ractopamine, but these measures were nullified by the Executive Yuan. Five local legislatures including Taipei and Taichung petitioned for constitutional interpretation. The Constitutional Court ruled on May 13 that the Executive Yuan's actions were constitutional. 
The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus of the Taipei City Council indicated that local autonomy has been stifled by the justices. Mayor of Huang Min-hui of Chiayi stated that future audits will still be strengthened to ensure food safety. 
May 14: Due to constant changes in government policies, disputes have continued to arise regarding claims of epidemic prevention insurance, which were launched and sold since March 2020. Some insurance companies temporarily suspended sales and refused to insure "repeated policyholders," making many policyholders dissatisfied. 
Some insurance companies have warned that if the infection rate in Taiwan reaches 15 percent, claims may total as high as NT$94.5 billion (about US$3.1 billion), which may overwhelm the property and casualty insurance industry. The industry is reluctant to accept that a positive rapid test result be interpreted as a confirmed case. 
May 14: The 75th World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States Congress recently passed a Taiwan-friendly legislation to help Taiwan regain its observer status. President Joe Biden signed the legislation on May 13 which took effect immediately. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President expressed gratitude. 
Nine members of Congress also wrote a joint letter calling upon President Biden to consider visiting Taiwan during his upcoming trip to Asia to demonstrate U.S. support.
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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