China intensifies pressure on Taiwan; population declines in the first quarter

Twenty-five Chinese military planes entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone on Monday, April 12, the most in a year. Eighteen of these planes were fighters, while four were bombers.

A US delegation arrived in Taiwan today, March 14, led by former senator Chris Dodd and including two former assistant secretaries of state. The delegation will meet with Tsai Ing-wen and other top Taiwan officials.

China is building advanced weapons using supercomputers powered by chips designed using US software and built in Taiwan, reports the Washington Post. However, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs has denied this, claiming that there are strict controls on exports of advanced chips.

China is looking at the clash between Argentina and Britain over the Falklands in 1982 for lessons in how to attempt an invasion of Taiwan while defending against potential US intervention, according to Business Insider.

India should develop relations with Taiwan through bilateral, regional and multilateral approaches, according to this op-ed in the Taipei Times.

Taiwan launched the first of several planned 10,000-ton amphibious transport ships on Tuesday, April 13.

Taiwan’s drought means that scarce water supplies have had to be allocated to semiconductor manufacturing but not for agriculture. Not surprisingly, some farmers are not happy. In terms of economic value, semiconductors do account for much more than agriculture. Taiwan’s minister of economic affairs has insisted that manufacturers such as chip producers are unaffected by the drought.

The Hualien train tragedy was the latest of a number of major Taiwan transportation accidents that happen due to issues with workplace safety and operations, argues Michael Turton in the Taipei Times.

Taiwan’s population continued to decline this year as deaths outnumbered births by over 12,000 in the first quarter of 2021.

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have flocked to Taiwan due to Covid-19, many of them with local family ties, and are setting up new startups. The abundance of tech talent and the “cheapness” of salaries in Taiwan are positive factors though there is a lack of “entrepreneurial spirit,” reports the Financial Times.

TSMC joined a virtual US White House summit about semiconductors and supply chains on April 12. Other firms like Samsung, Intel and GM also took part in the meeting.

China Airlines has canceled flights to Palau on April 17 due to low ticket sales for the travel bubble to the Pacific island nation. Local travel agencies have also reported weak sales for trips to Palau. In response, Taiwan’s CECC has said it will relax self-health management requirements for tourists returning from Palau.

Hunting has been a big part of Indigenous culture for a long time, but it can conflict with modern laws and the animal-rights movement in Taiwan, as reported by the New York Times.