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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Warning issued after 7 new local cases


>Workers at Feng Chia Night Market in Taichung hold signs in an undated photograph. The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday raised the COVID-19 warning to level 2 and implemented new restrictions and measures effective until June 8, including asking that people practice social distancing at night markets.
Photo copied by Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times

The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources.

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Little coverage on Taiwan in West

Given China’s regional might, it is little surprise that the nation casts a long shadow across Asia — including in its media coverage. However, we are now seeing a disturbing trend of Western media casting a favorable light on China, right as it stands accused of suppressing democracy in Hong Kong, interning Uighurs and obscuring investigations into the origins of COVID-19.

At the same time, important coverage of Asian democracies, such as Taiwan’s 20-place leap in the Democracy Index last year — in the midst of a pandemic that brought major constrictions of democratic rights in many places — gets downplayed or, worse, ignored completely.

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Nuclear plants a big security risk

As Taiwan’s August referendum on completing its Fourth Nuclear Power Plant approaches, one question that has not yet been fully considered is to what extent this and Taiwan’s other three plants are military liabilities — radioactive targets that China aims to attack.

At best, a threatened strike or an intentional near-miss against one plant would likely force the government to shut the other nuclear plants down as a precaution. At worst, a strike could produce Chernobyl-like contamination, forcing the evacuation of millions.

Some partial, temporary defenses are possible and should be pursued, but ultimately, the smart money is on substituting non-nuclear alternatives for these reactors as soon as possible.

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Blinken urges WHO to invite Taiwan


The flag of the WHO flies at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 5.
Photo: AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday urged the WHO to invite Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, saying that China’s objections are to blame for Taiwan’s exclusion from the organization.

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Unambiguity a must against China

On March 9, then-commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Philip Davidson — just over a month before he retired — told a budget meeting that Washington should rethink its decades-long policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan.

Davidson said that the US had to strengthen its defenses in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of the threat posed by China, and its allies in the region are indispensable to US strategy.

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Beware Beijing’s climate trap

Last month, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry traveled to China for climate change talks. The meeting concluded with a joint statement pledging that both sides would continue to work together to decarbonize their economies and adhere to commitments entered into under the Paris Agreement. While this could be viewed as a promising step, there is a danger that in its eagerness to achieve significant progress on climate change, Washington could fall into a trap set by Beijing.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has repeatedly said that it believes it can challenge China on an economic and military front, while simultaneously collaborating over issues of common interest, namely climate change. This is hopelessly naive, given Beijing’s “checkered” track record of keeping its word and its ruthless pursuit of its own national interests.

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Newsflash

China, which makes no secret that its ultimate goal is to annex Taiwan, has of late made engaging young Taiwanese a top priority in its “united front” strategy against Taiwan.

At the two-day “2015 Workshop on Taiwan Affairs” in Beijing that concluded on Tuesday, in addition to affirming the so-called “1992 consensus” and an anti-Taiwanese independence stance, officials made a point of stressing that measures would be taken to “actively promote cross-strait visits and expand exchanges among young people and members of the general public on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”