During Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s National Day address titled Better Taiwan today, she pledged to honor her electoral promises and accelerate reforms, safeguard Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, and to actively seek Taiwan’s place in the new international order.
In particular, she reiterated her government’s approach in dealing with China:
Our goodwill will not change, our commitments will not change, we will not revert to the old path of confrontation, and we will not bow to pressure.
She did not mentioned the magic words (“1992 Consensus”) China has been looking for, which naturally drew ire from our neighbor across the strait. Yet as China seems unable to comprehend the lack of support for the so-called consensus in Taiwan, Taiwan-China relations will likely remain in its current state of no official contacts, unless something drastic happens in the upcoming 19th CPC Party Congress.
Following the resignation of Taiwanese Premier Lin Chuan 林全 and his cabinet yesterday, President Tsai Ing-wen today appointed Tainan Mayor William Lai 賴清德 as premier, leading the executive branch of Taiwan’s central government. The cabinet reshuffling is widely seen as a move to reverse Tsai’s low approval ratings to prepare for the 2018 local elections. Former premier Lin has not held any elected offices.
Lai, 57 and a doctor by profession, received a BS from National Taiwan University in Taipei and MD from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. He subsequently studied at Harvard University and was awarded a Master of Public Health degree. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1996 and four times elected to the Legislative Yuan in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2008, all representing the Democratic Progressive Party in then-Tainan City. After then-Tainan City and Tainan County were merged into a single municipality, Lai won the 2010 mayoral election and was re-elected in 2014 with ~73% of the votes.
The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, opens tonight in a ceremony at Taipei Stadium in Taiwan’s capital city. More than 7,000 athletes from 144 countries are competing in 22 sporting events. The ceremony features cultural and music performances, speeches from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin (Russia), and lighting of the ceremonial flame. The parade of nations was interrupted by anti-pension reform protesters, resulting in most athletes having to enter the stadium after all flag bearers have passed through. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced the opening of the games. Continue reading “2017 Universiade opens in Taipei”
After hearing oral arguments on the case concerning same-sex marriage brought by activist Chi Chia-wei and Taipei City Government two months ago, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court today ruled that the marriage chapter of the Civil Code, which states marriage as between “the male and the female parties,” to be unconstitutional. (Read the Court’s English press release.)
In its Interpretation 748, the Court contends that Part IV Chapter II of the Civil Code on marriage violates ROC Constitution Article 22, protecting people the freedom of marriage, and Article 7, stating all ROC citizens to be equal. The Court rules that relevant authorities must amend or enact laws within two years to protect the right of marriage for same-sex couples. However, the Court did not specify whether the parliament should amend the Civil Code, add additional articles allowing same-sex marriage, or to create a separate law allowing same-sex civil union. Continue reading “Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage”
President Tsai Ing-wen is leading a delegation to visit four of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, in that order. The delegation will depart Taipei on 7 January, make fueling stop at Houston on the way there, and return to Taipei on 15 January via San Francisco. EVA Airways is selected to handle the delegation visit this time.
President Tsai is expected to meet with the head of state of each country, and also attend the inauguration ceremony of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on 10 January. She will also visit Taiwanese business in the region and the Secretariat of Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA, Central American Integrated System, in which Taiwan is an observer) in San Salvador. The ROC first established diplomatic relations with Honduras in 1965, with Guatemala in 1960, with Nicaragua in 1990, and with El Salvador in 1961. Other allies in the region include Belize and Panama (Costa Rica broke relations with the ROC in 2007), making Central America the most Taiwan-friendly region in the world.
By now, most international media around the world have reported and analyzed the meaning behind the phone call between U.S. President-elect and President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan for a full week. Most of the Washington foreign policy establishment had their hands up in the air, criticizing Trump’s move as a major diplomatic blunder, attributed to his lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy. At the same time, China’s response has tuned up from the mild reaction from Chinese foreign minister to the Communist party papers calling for nuclear arms preparations. The New Yorker suggested that President Tsai probably took a risk making the call.
As Michael J. Cole wrote in his article in The Diplomat:
In the week since the call, the hundreds of articles written about and interviews given on the subject worldwide have largely focused on the mechanics of the call . . . [L]ittle effort was made to analyze why Taiwan’s first female president, in office since May 20 and brought to power in January via democratic instruments, was willing to place a call . . . Even less was said, with a few notable exceptions, about reactions in Taiwan, particularly its 23 million citizens, who far too often in the rare instances of international attention are denied, by omission rather than design, a voice of their own, as if all of them were little more than insentient subjects to the implacable waves of history or the dictates of decisionmakers in Washington and Beijing.
Continue reading “The Trump-Tsai Phone Call”