Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 10

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), the crisis caused by a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital is over.
However, after announcing that, Taiwan reported one new domestic case of COVID-19 as well as four new imported cases on Thursday.
The new domestic case is related to a nurse infected in a cluster infection centered on a Taoyuan hospital.
With this new case, all of the nurse’s seven family members are now confirmed COVID-19 patients.
So, while the hospital itself may be safe, it could still be spreading elsewhere.

Pharmaceutical company Moderna has entered into an agreement with the Taiwan government for the supply of 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccines are likely to arrive beginning in the second quarter of 2021.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also supposed to on its way, but the arrival date appears to have been delayed.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced the lifting of an entry ban for international students that has been in place since January.

The recall campaign against Taiwan Statebuilding Party’s only legislator Wonda Chen Po-wei–also known as 3Q–has submitted their signatures from the first signature drive.
If approved, they will have to complete a large second signature drive to qualify for a formal recall.
The campaign’s slogan is a play on 3Q: 刪Q, which means “delete Q”.
3Q is a playful way of rendering how the English “thank you” sounds to Taiwanese ears.

Taiwan exported a record amount in January, with shipments surged almost 37% to $34.3 billion, the most in data going back to 1981.
It is said to have been fueled by rising demand for computer chips and by companies rushing to get components ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in February.
Imports also hit a record over the same period, up almost 30%.

Commenting on cross-strait relations during a national security meeting, President Tsai said Taipei is always willing to push for meaningful cross-strait dialogue on the basis of equal footing “as long as Beijing is willing to resolve antagonisms.”
She noted: “Cross-strait peace is not a unilateral issue for Taiwan.
The key lies in China’s hands.
Historical experience has proven that verbal attacks and military threats against Taiwan will not help cross-strait relations.”
She went on to say “We would also like to wish the people on the other side of the strait a happy new year and hope to jointly promote peace and stability on both sides of the strait.”
In that same meeting, the president said Taiwan’s relations with its most important ally, the United States, have remained solid despite the change in U.S. administrations last month.
She said Taiwan was in close contact with “relevant countries” about the situation in the Taiwan Strait, but added “I would like to reiterate that Taiwan’s consistent position on cross-strait relations is neither to succumb to pressure nor to advance rashly when we get support.”
As always, the president was firm but not confrontational, making it very clear which side of the Strait is the aggressor.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement saying “the DPP authority should take full responsibility for the current status of the cross-Strait relations”.
Last I checked, the “DPP authority” hasn’t been militarily threatening the People’s Republic.
Following her remarks, KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) urged Taipei and Beijing to seek opportunities to resume official dialogue and normal people-to-people exchanges.
He also noted on Facebook “we have also noticed that President Tsai has in recent speeches tried her best to show goodwill to the other side” of the Taiwan Strait.

Speaking to a think tank, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said he has not suffered “any personal cost” for his support of Taiwan and Tibet and that he believes China’s power to inflict economic damage on the Czech Republic in response to such expressions of solidarity has been greatly overestimated.
He added he felt “a moral duty” to state that China is “an unreliable business partner” that has failed to follow through on promised investment in the Czech Republic, and that, in any case, speaking out against human rights violations is of greater priority than economic gain.

Image courtesy of Chen Po-wei’s FB page

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