Taiwan Headlines, Mar. 4, 2021

Water supplies to Hsinchu County, Miaoli County and Taichung City will be further restricted from the current measure of having water pressure lowered only at night to day-round, amid increasingly severe water shortages.
The new restrictions will take effect immediately.
Water levels in reservoirs in central and southern Taiwan have dropped to below 20 percent of capacity.

Potential KMT chair candidate and presidential candidate in 2024 Jaw Shaw-kong, commenting on the Reuters interview with Johnny Chiang we covered yesterday, said Chiang was incorrect.
The pro-unification talk show host said on Facebook that that with the Tsai administration’s “hatred of China, opposition to China and unceasing Boxer Rebellion-style provocations, of course China has become threatening.”
He also said China was potentially a major benefit to Taiwan.

Sean Lien (連勝文), currently vice chairman of the KMT think tank National Policy Foundation, has said that he would “seriously consider” running for KMT chair in July.
Lien is the son of former Vice President and KMT Chair Lien Chan, and lost badly in his only run for elected office: Losing a run for Taipei mayor to Ko Wen-je.

The government has budgeted about NT$15.5 billion to subsidize telecoms for the building of 5G base stations, with the aim of raising service coverage to 85 percent in two-and-a-half years.
The government has the money for it, Taiwan’s 5G spectrum bidding was one of the most expensive in the world.

Hon Hai (aka Foxconn) has announced the establishment of an industry group dedicated to cybersecurity for electric vehicles (EVs) called the E-Vehicle Cybersecurity Alliance.

According to the National Development Council (NDC), Taiwan’s composite index of economic indicators hit 37, representing a yellow-red signal in January for the second consecutive month, indicating a warming economy.
The NDC uses a five-color system to gauge the country’s economic performance, with blue indicating economic contraction, yellow-blue representing sluggishness, green signifying stable growth, yellow-red referring to a warming economy and red pointing to overheating.
37 is the upper end of the yellow-red designation, meaning Taiwan is very close to overheating.
The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is also expecting demand for workers will increase in export-oriented industries in the second quarter, largely because of the booming electronics industry.

Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) has reached an agreement to export 6,000 kilos of pineapple to Australia.
Taiwan’s #FreedomPineapple campaign following China’s import ban is based on a similar #FreedomWine campaign in Australia following a similar ban.
Australia and Taiwan were close to sealing a free trade agreement back in 2015, which would have closely followed a similar deal Taiwan signed with New Zealand, but Australia–presumably under pressure from China–pulled out of the negotiations.

The United States-based non-governmental organization Freedom House ranked Taiwan the second freest country in Asia, slightly behind Japan but well ahead of Mongolia.

In a 24-page Interim National Security Strategic Guidance issued by the US White House, there was one sentence regarding Taiwan:
“We will support Taiwan, a leading democracy and a critical economic and security partner, in line with longstanding American commitments.”

Two United States congressmen, Tom Tiffany and Scott Perry, have introduced U.S. Congress House Concurrent Resolution 21.
The resolution urges the U.S. government to resume normal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan, and support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations.
Congressman Tiffany said “For more than 40 years, American presidents of both political parties have repeated Beijing’s bogus lie that Taiwan is part of Communist China – despite the objective reality that it is not.”
Representative Perry added “As an independent Nation that proudly collaborates with Taiwan across a wide spectrum of issues, it’s long past time The United States exercised our sovereign right to state what the world knows to be true: Taiwan is an independent country, and has been for over 70 years.”
If passed, it would be a ‘sense of Congress’ bill, so non-binding–but such bills do provide some cover for an administration to act if it chooses, and it sends a strong message and spurs discussion on the issue.
The bill currently lacks a Democratic Party co-sponsor, but they are continuing to seek one out.

Image courtesy of Congressman Tom Tiffany’s House.gov page

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