Taiwan Headlines, Apr. 12, 2021

As the headline on Focus Taiwan put it: “Taiwan’s interior ministry prods KMT to change party emblem.”
In a keynote report submitted to the Legislature’s Internal Administration Committee in response to a motion passed by the legislature in January, the ministry urged the KMT to alter its emblem.
It said times have changed, to help the public distinguish between the two, it is easier to change a party emblem than the national emblem of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
It went on to say the national emblem must not be easily altered as it is a meaningful symbol with historical connotations to unite Taiwan’s people.
In short, the DPP government is defending the use of a slightly modified KMT emblem as the national symbol.
KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said on Facebook that the suggestion was a mal-intended maneuver by the ruling DPP to shift the public’s focus from the deadly train accident.
He went on to say “If the DPP fully identifies with the ROC, the KMT will be happy to see it incorporate elements of the national flag and national emblem into its party emblem.”
Obviously, that’s not going to happen.
Then, in an interview Chiang said the KMT would not change its emblem, on the grounds that it predates the national emblem.
Of course that is true, it was intentionally adopted from the party emblem to put the party’s stamp on their then authoritarian regime in China.
Chiang added the DPP is mistaken if it thinks it can use this debate as a way to “eliminate” the KMT.
The emblem on the flag is set out in the constitution–which is difficult to change–but it is unclear if that applies to use of the emblem elsewhere.

With large parts of Taichung and some areas of Miaoli and Changhua now supplying water five days a week on a rotational basis in response to the drought, the government is trying to put a brave face on it.
The Water Resources Agency (WRA) is saying that although the water shortage situation in central Taiwan is serious, it is currently sustainable with the rationing measures already in place.
However, they added if the drought continues existing water restrictions could last until June or even longer, and said they are already prepared for the worst and is considering every contingency in case the situation worsens.
The Deji Reservoir that supplies Taichung has dropped to only 4.8 percent capacity.
As always, people and businesses with fewer resources tend to get hit the hardest, with agricultural losses caused by the current water shortage having exceeded NT$400 million.
Those who sell out of markets, from small restaurants and residents without decent-sized water tanks are getting hit hard.
Today I need to take a shower, shave and do laundry today before the water is cut for the next two days–though my apartment block has a decent water tank.

In business news, two new predictions for economic growth this year are stellar.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecast for GDP growth 4.7 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from its most recent estimate late last year.
Similarly, DBS Bank has raised its forecast for Taiwan’s gross domestic product growth for 2021 to 5 percent, up from 4.2 percent predicted in January.
This is almost good enough to bring back the craze for Hennessy XO that swept the country in the late 80s–ok, maybe not, but perhaps VSOP.
By law I now have to remind you not to drink and drive.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance announced that in March exports soared 27.1 percent year-on-year to a record US$35.89 billion, as inventory demand for all product categories gained unprecedented traction amid component shortages and shipping delay.
They think the growth momentum might extend into this quarter.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last Thursday held an online meeting with parliamentarians from the newly established West Asia Formosa Club.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) welcomed the group, which is comprised of 63 legislators from 11 Western Asian countries.
Members from Jordan, Turkey, Mongolia, and Russia jointly chaired the group’s first meeting online on Friday.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry helped establish the first Formosa Club in October 2019, bringing together various pro-Taiwan legislative groups in the European Union.
There are now others in different parts of the world.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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