Taiwan Headlines, Mar. 20, 2021

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed locally required tests, and is expected to start being administered next Monday, initially to health care workers and staff.
Meanwhile, Taiwan on Thursday confirmed six new imported cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,004

The government is planning a NT$160 billion (US$5.67 billion) infrastructure program that will increase the country’s annual water collection and conservation by 1 billion cubic meters, by 2031.
That equals three months of current supply.
They plan to increase capacity at the country’s reservoirs by removing sediment, replace old leaking pipelines, and build new infrastructure such as water recycling plants, desalination plants, artificial lakes, and wells.

The Ministry of Education has decided to increase funding for training bilingual teachers able to teach courses in Mandarin and English.
Their target is 1,500 individuals attending training classes annually.

The Ministry of National Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review says that far-strike capabilities are to be greatly emphasized as they would grant the military strategic depth and allow for the implementation of layered deterrence strategies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced a Taiwan-Europe Connectivity Scholarship program to attract more European students to study Mandarin in Taiwan.
The program also aims to bolster Taiwan-Europe ties and encourage local universities to build up English-teaching environments.

Video game developer Red Candle Games has announced the launch of its own e-shop to sell its computer games, which have been previously prevented from being sold on digital game distribution platforms amid a boycott threat by Chinese netizens.
Players discovered a Taoist talisman decorating a wall in one game containing the words “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh,” prompting distribution platforms to bow to Chinese pressure and drop their games.

All satellites launched by Taiwan are registered at the UN as owned by “Taiwan, Province of China,” meaning that Chinese bullying has gone off-planet.

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is easing restrictions on the opening of foreign non-profit organization (NPO) branch offices in Taiwan, including those from Hong Kong and Macau.
This may be in hopes of attracting more NPOs from Hong Kong, where the new Beijing-imposed national security law has made the environment there more risky.

Taiwan and Palau plan to launch a travel bubble between the two countries on April 1, which will be the first initiative of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.
This will allow Taiwanese tour groups to travel to Palau on two weekly flights, while offering streamlined quarantine procedures on each side.
Palau’s president plans to visit Taiwan to kick off the program.
Palau, which diplomatically recognizes Taiwan has a population of around 18,000, no recorded cases of COVID-19 during the entire pandemic and has begun administering doses of vaccines already.

Taiwan is planning to launch a “sports bubble” for athletes who will be arriving to compete in the qualifier baseball tournament for the Tokyo Olympics in June.
The teams competing for the sixth and final berth in the Tokyo Olympics are Taiwan, Australia, China, and the Netherlands.
They will be joined by winners from the Americas qualifier.
Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea have already qualified.

At talks in Tokyo between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin from the U.S. side and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on the Japanese side, they issued a joint statement, which included the line “The ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

According to French media, on March 15 the Chinese ambassador to France wrote a “scathing letter” to Senator Alain Richard on Feb. 18, asking him to cancel his plan to lead a parliamentary delegation to visit Taiwan this summer.

Image courtesy of Red Candle Games FB page

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