Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 19, 2021 (Late Edition)

A coalition of over 50 civic organizations will march in Taipei on Sunday to remember the victims of the Feb. 28 incident and to protest against the lingering symbols of authoritarianism in Taiwanese society.
They also issued a declaration, with their first demand calling for the dismantling of “authoritarianism” and the “liquidation” of the KMT and its related powers in Chinese, though the wording was softer in the English language version.

The National Development Council (NDC) has announced that Taiwan’s economy has a good chance of exceeding 4 percent annual growth this year if the country makes the most of opportunities presented by the restructuring of global supply chains in the wake of the pandemic and attracts investment in major construction projects.
The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) has forecast Taiwan’s economy will grow by 3.83 percent in 2021.

The Presidential Office has announced a reshuffle of three Cabinet-level officials, replacing the leaders of the Ministry of National Defense, the National Security Bureau and the Mainland Affairs Council.
Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), director-general of the National Security Bureau, will take over as Minister of Defence
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) head Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) will succeed Chiu as head of the National Security Bureau, while Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), a former NSC advisor, will lead the MAC.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has welcomed the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and vowed to work with her to strengthen the international trade system.
She has said she intends to treat Taiwan “fairly”.

Following the passage of a law that allows Chinese coast guard ships to use handheld weapons on foreign ships operating “illegally” in China’s waters under certain conditions, China has sent coast guard ships into waters around the Senkaku Islands, some of them equipped with “cannon-like weapons,” into the contested waters at least six times since Feb. 1.
The Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan, but are also claimed by Taiwan as the Diaoyutai Islands and by China as the Diaoyu Islands.
The US has confirmed that their defence treaty with Japan applies to the Senkakus.
A spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said “The Diaoyutai Islands are undoubtedly inherent parts of the Republic of China.”
She also added “Any unilateral actions by other parties will not change the fact that our country has sovereignty over those islands.”
She also urged restraint by all parties involved in the Diaoyutai Islands disputes, adding that Taiwan’s government will continue to handle the disputes through peaceful means and protect the fishing rights of Taiwanese fishermen.
For more context on the subject, check out the Taiwan Report News Brief entitled “Silliness and stupidity over the Senkakus”.

Nearly 40 members of the United States House of Representatives on Thursday led a bipartisan effort to back Taiwan’s bid for observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO) by requiring the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the WHO.

Meanwhile two members of the United States Congress reintroduced a bill in the Senate and House of Representatives to deter the use of force by China against Taiwan.
The proposed Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act is sponsored by Republican Senator Rick Scott and Representative Guy Reschenthaler.
If passed it would, among other things, authorize the president of the U.S. to use force to protect Taiwan under the following three circumstances:
A direct attack by China’s military.
The seizure of Taiwan territory by Chinese forces.
The endangering of Taiwan’s military forces or civilians.
The US Congress passed a similar pre-authorization for use of force by the president in the 1950s.
It will be interesting to see if this passes.

Image by Copyright © National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9005806

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