Taiwan Headlines, Apr. 11, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control, those needing to travel abroad should be able to buy a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month at the earliest.
An expected 5,000 to 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are to be set aside for purchase by those with a specified need to travel–though they haven’t yet decided if it will initially be limited to business travellers.

A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important as Taiwan’s birthrate hit an all-time low early this year.
That may have something to do with Taiwan’s population continuing to decline in the first quarter of this year, with the nation’s deaths outnumbered births by more than 12,000.
With the price of homeownership rising, salaries only increasing marginally and traditional gender roles increasingly ill-suited to modern life, babies have become a time-consuming luxury item.
Efforts by both the national and local governments to boost subsidies to pay people for reproduction don’t appear to have had much effect in turning around this trend.
Interestingly, the one place where there has been some success is Changhua, which has been turning into an affordable suburb of Taichung.

To boost military capability, two key runways are currently being reconstructed.
One, in Hsinchu, will be finished in May, allowing Mirage 2000s fighters to once again be stationed there.
The other, on Dongsha (also known as Pratas) Islands Airport, has seen frequent flybys in the area by Chinese aircraft recently that some speculate are practice runs to prepare for an invasion of the islands.
The upgrade, to be completed next February, will allow the Air Force to carry out multiple strategic transportation and replenishment missions, using transport planes to carry troops, firepower, and equipment to the islands.

Twitter has launched an emoji for the Milk Tea Alliance and included Taiwan’s flag among other members of the alliance in their statement.
The emoji includes three colors which are meant to represent the different milk teas found in Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
The emoji automatically appears when Twitter users type in the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance.
It appears that unlike Facebook and Google, both of which seem determined to keep options open in China in spite of also being banned, Twitter grew a backbone and said “screw them”.

One of the world’s most prestigious defense gatherings, the Halifax International Security Forum, was reportedly planning to give its John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to President Tsai Ing-wen.
However, the Canadian government, which is a major sponsor of the forum, made it clear that if organizers gave the honor to Tsai, the Canadian government would pull support and funding from the forum.
In other words, the Canadian government is acting to preemptively censor the forum on behalf of Beijing.
As Politico put it, “Trudeau’s government appears uncomfortable with the situation.
Ottawa has shied away from provoking Beijing after tensions spiked in December 2018, when Canadian authorities arrested a senior Huawei executive on behalf of the U.S.”
So this puts the forum in the uncomfortable position of either showing leadership on their own leadership award, or buckle under bullying of the Canadian government.

Relations between Taiwan and India continue to improve, signified by India’s Ministry of External Affairs sending its sympathies and condolences following the deadly train crash in Taiwan on April 2, via Twitter and Facebook for the first time.
However, when Taiwan claimed that India sent vaccines to Paraguay to help out Taiwan, India denied it, saying “that no third party was involved.’’
Paraguay has been under pressure to get vaccines, and reportedly Beijing offered vaccines in exchange for dropping diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Times of India recently published an editorial titled “New Delhi-Taipei cooperation is both mutually beneficial and a pointed signal to China.”
In its editorial, the newspaper claimed that “India shouldn’t be overly concerned about China’s political claims on Taiwan” and advocated that “cooperation with Taipei makes strategic sense for New Delhi” when Beijing clearly doesn’t respect “One India.”
It’s good to see they’ve woken up to that, next up hopefully they’ll realize Beijing doesn’t respect much of anything.
Unfortunately, the government of India is likely to move slowly for the time being.

Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

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