Taiwan Headlines, Jan. 11

According to Ministry of Finance (MOF) statistics, Taiwan exports hit a record high of US$345.28 billion in 2020 despite the global economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic.
The rise was 4.9 percent higher in US dollar terms than the previous record, set in 2018.
However, in NT dollar terms, the value of exports was up only 0.2 percent from 2019 because of the strength of the currency.
Imports were basically flat compared to 2019, and Taiwan ran a record trade surplus of US$58.79 billion.

Premier Su Tseng-chang has announced two major, but linked, development plans for Pingtung.
They plan to extend the High Speed Rail into the county, and to build a new science park there.
The extended HSR line is scheduled to start operations in 2029.

President Tsai has announced the government will inject NT$7.6 billion (US$ 275 million) into attracting foreign investment in the areas of AI, the Internet of Things (Iot), cloud-computing services and semiconductor equipment.

Pictures of someone carrying an ROC flag at the riot at the US Capitol have surfaced.
It is unclear who brought the flag, or why.
Meanwhile, former President Ma Ying-jeou’s office condemned President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang for remaining “silent” on the riot.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a brief reference to “regretting the incident.”

500,000 passports with the new design became ready for distribution on Monday.
Foreign governments, airlines and government agencies have been notified about the change.
The new design highlights the word English “Taiwan,” while retaining “Republic of China” in Chinese and in small English print around the national emblem.

The International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) has unilaterally changed their references to two Taiwan medical organizations with Taiwan in the name to “Chinese Taipei”.
The local groups have protested.
There are concerns that Taiwan’s academic accomplishments in the field of radiology may be mistakenly attributed to China as a result.
In a letter of notification to the two Taiwan groups, the ISRRT said it must comply with WHO rules, in order to maintain its relations with the global health body.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday announced that Washington is lifting restrictions on contacts between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.
Pompeo said in a statement “The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more.”
“Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions,” he added.
I will be discussing this more in the next Taiwan Report News Brief.

Image courtesy of MOFA’s Facebook

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