A coalition of environmental activists has submitted over 700,000 signatures in support of a referendum to move the site of a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal over concerns of damage to an algae reef in Taoyuan.
The signatures submitted easily surpass the second-stage legal threshold, so it will likely be on the ballot on Aug. 28.
In other referendum news, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attacked a referendum to activate the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, citing the lack of a long-term storage facility for spent fuel rods.
On the KMT side, preparations are underway for nationwide forums to explain the party’s stance on referendums.
They even plan to hold them at the township and borough level.
In a poll released by an educational foundation,
96.4 percent of respondents said it is important for future talent in the nation to be bilingual, 97.8 percent said it was important for future talent to possess the ability to innovate, 95.7 percent said it was important for future talent to have digital skills and 97.7 percent said it was important for future talent to demonstrate civic literacy.
The survey also showed that 80.6 percent of people agreed that the government should take measures to encourage exceptional international students in Taiwan to stay and work after graduating.
Meanwhile, a different poll showed 67 percent of Taiwanese would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine produced by a Chinese manufacturer, while 24.3 percent would accept it.
Asked whether they hoped Taiwan and China could resume meaningful dialogue, 77.9 percent said they did, while 13.7 percent said they did not.
Asked about their opinion on US’ assistance to Taiwan’s defense, only 21.3 percent said they felt that the US was sincere, while 61.1 percent said they felt that the US’ intention was to exploit Taiwan.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has been communicating with manufacturers with facilities in the nation’s science parks and industrial zones to prepare them for a 15 percent reduction in daily water use ahead of a possible dry season during May and June.
Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said “There were no typhoons last year and less spring rain than usual this year. What happens if the monsoons do not come? We still need to prepare for June and July.”
The central bank has decided to leave its key interest rates unchanged.
Following the decision, the discount rate remains at 1.125 percent, the lowest in the country’s history.
Meanwhile, the central bank has announced it will extend a loan facility to help small- and medium-sized companies hit by the pandemic to the end of the year.
Representatives of Lithuania’s political and cultural elites have established a Lithuania-Taiwan Forum and chose a former Minister of Education as chair to strengthen economic, academic, cultural, and political relations with Taiwan.
The pro-Taiwan organization is comprised of more than 50 founding members, including the country’s Economic Minister, the Deputy Foreign Minister, and the mayor of the capital city of Vilnius.
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) head Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) announced at a press conference that Chinese nationals would once again be allowed to apply to travel to Taiwan for business reasons.
At the same event, however, he was asked about cross-strait relations and said the idea that bilateral exchanges can only proceed if one side accepts the other’s positions is “unfair, unjust and an unrealistic request.”
He added, using a phrase borrowed from Henry Kissenger, “Whether or not we employ so-called ‘constructive ambiguity’ will depend on the wisdom of both sides.”
However, when asked if the 1992 consensus was an example of such an approach, he replied “the 1992 consensus has generated a great deal of controversy in Taiwan and is even the subject of disagreement within the KMT, so there is no way this term could be interpreted as constructive ambiguity.”
Responding to Chiu later that day, KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the consensus was indeed an example of constructive ambiguity, as it gave the sides a means to seek common ground, while setting aside their differences.
In spite of Chiu’s efforts to find “the greatest common denominator” that will bring mutual benefits and elicit the least controversy, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) effectively killed it:
“If ‘strategic ambiguity’ is merely a means of negating the one-China principle,” then the DPP is just playing word games and lacks sincerity, TAO spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) said in a statement.
“Only a return to the 1992 consensus will allow for the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations,” she said.
Image courtesy of MAC FB page