Category Archives: Business

Taiwan, Singapore team up on smart technology development

Tainan City-based National Cheng Kung University and Singapore Technologies Engineering Electronics Ltd. concluded a memorandum of understanding on smart technology development March 7 in southern Taiwan.

Under the private-academic sector pact, the two sides will leverage their respective research and industrial strengths to jointly advance self-driving technology, build a smart campus, and promote medical care and transportation.

During the initial stage, efforts will revolve around creating automotive vehicle testing and validating systems based on NCKU’s proprietary smart car project, as well as dedicated assessment procedures and processes with National Applied Research Laboratories under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

NCKU President Su Huey-jen said smart technology is an R&D priority and the university is dedicating more resources to key areas such as engineering, medicine, transportation and urban design. The institution also maintains a close relationship with Taiwan’s leading research organizations like state-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute.

According to Su, a 2017 study by U.K.-based marketing firm Juniper Research shows Singapore is a global leader in smart technology development. The partnership will provide NCKU with a great opportunity to learn from the city-state’s successful experiences and high-tech know-how.

In response, STEE Executive Vice President Low Jin Phang described NCKU as an ideal partner given its track record in R&D and talent cultivation. He expects the win-win collaboration to result in spectacular smart living applications and synergies with global uses.

Source: Taiwan Today

Philippines, Malaysia Pledge Cooperation against Terrorism

President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad agreed on Thursday to boost the fight against terrorism and peacefully address territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns about Chinese aggressiveness.

Mahathir, 93, is in Manila for the first time since his stunning electoral triumph last year.

We resolved to ramp up cooperation to address security issues, particularly on terrorism, piracy and transnational crimes, including the fight against the illegal drug trade, Duterte said during a joint news conference. We resolved to address security issues.

Mahathir’s visit comes shortly after voters in the southern Philippines agreed to establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The region was created five years after a peace deal � brokered partly by Malaysia � ended the separatist rebellion of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Mahathir, who also made official visits to the Philippines during his first stint as prime minister, in 1987 and 1994, said he discussed security matters with Duterte.

We discussed a wide range of issues on bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern, he said.

Mahathir said he assured the Philippine leader of Malaysia’s commitment to address the serious issue of terrorism and violent extremism.

Together with Indonesia, he said, Malaysia and the Philippines had agreed to undertake unilateral maritime and air patrols to tackle the growing security challenges.

The three nations began trilateral patrols in June 2017 after pro-Islamic State militants launched a siege in the southern Philippine city of Marawi. Fighter jets pounded the militants with heavy bombs during a five-month battle that ended in October 2017 and killed at least 1,200 people, including Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged IS leader in the Philippines.

Mahathir said Manila and Kuala Lumpur must boost economic ties, as he assured Duterte of Malaysia’s desire to continue to be of help in the development of Mindanao.

But he warned that extremism would continue to pose a problem.

I see things getting worse in the future, Mahathir said. The reason is very simple: We refuse to acknowledge the causes. Terrorism is caused by something. Identify the cause. Try and deal with the cause, and eliminate the causes then there’ll be less extremism.

But ignoring the cause and trying to fight against extremism as if it is conventional war, you’re not going to succeed, he said.

Mahathir tells Beijing: Clarify ‘ownership’

The two leaders also discussed China’s continuing militarization of the South China Sea, the disputed region that is also claimed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, as well as by Beijing’s rival, Taiwan.

Duterte, an ardent Chinese backer, has preferred to engage Beijing on friendlier terms, encouraging investments in the Philippines among others. He has made trips to China and personally encouraged investors there to come in.

Duterte had also set aside a 2016 ruling of an international arbitral tribunal that junked China’s vast claims in the sea region, after his predecessor, Benigno Aquino, took Beijing to court for illegally occupying a territory west of the Philippines that, according to analysts, was clearly within Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

Last week, Washington assured Manila of military backing should it come under attack in the South China Sea. But the Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, has instead called for a review of the country’s mutual defense treaty with the United States, fearing that the Philippines would be sucked into war into a regional war.

We emphasized the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight over the South China Sea, as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes, Duterte told reporters Thursday.

This is, without resort to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, he said.

Before the news conference, Mahathir said in a television interview that Beijing should clarify what it meant by ownership in the South China Sea, as he emphasized that the region, where more than U.S. $5 trillion of global trade passes through each year, must remain open to navigation.

We have to talk to China on the definition of their claims and what is meant by their ownership or so-called ownership they claim to have so that we can find ways of deriving some benefits from them,” Mahathir told ANC television in Manila.

Mahathir also said that while he respected Manila’s economic strategy, any infusion of investments in the Philippines should be properly defined.

Foreign direct investments should not involve huge numbers of foreigners to live in the country, he said, clearly alluding to a Philippine Senate inquiry last year that showed at least 200,000 Chinese had flocked to the country since Duterte took power in 2016.

So long as they are not going to be permanent resident is not a danger to the Philippines, Mahathir said.

But if huge number of any foreigners live and stay in the country or even to influence economy, then you have to do some rethinking whether it is good or bad or the limits that we have to impose on them, he said.

Mahathir noted that Beijing had been accused of using debt-trap diplomacy, in which Beijing intentionally extends excessive credit with the alleged intention of extracting economic or political concessions from the debtor country.

If you borrow huge sums of money from China and you cannot pay, you know when the person is a borrower he is under the control of the lender, he said. So we have to be very careful about that.

Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

Why the US Might Reject Selling Arms to the Philippines

TAIPEI The Philippine foreign secretary says his country wants to buy American weaponry to shore up defense. But although the two countries have worked closely together on security over the past 70 years, costs and broader security worries will make any arms hard to get, experts in Asia caution.

Secretary Teodoro Locsin told a news conference in Manila that he and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had discussed the vital support of the United States for Philippine military modernization. Mutual defense, he said, should cover a partner’s back as well as its front.

Locsin later tweeted that he hopes the U.S. government will sell weapons to rearm our military for selfdefense.

But the Philippines may not be able to afford complex new weapons systems, while U.S. officials would worry that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte might use them in his deadly antidrug campaign, experts believe. Duterte for his part might not want any new U.S. hardware to upset a 3year friendship with China, which has its own differences with the United States.

The geopolitical issue, that’s one, second is the limited funding as well as security concerns when it comes to sourcing equipment, said Collin Koh, a maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. So, in a way it limits the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).

Political complexity

The U.S. Arms Export Control Act governing foreign sales is what one political consultant called for this report a minefield of intricacies and legalities. For that reason, scholars say, the U.S. government sells its new, highend arms such as aircraft largely to longterm partners such as Australia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Those partners know the Act, can pay the billions of dollars for new equipment and do not turn the weapons on their own people. Sales sometimes irk China as its navy expands onto the high seas, but Chinese leaders are used to the repeat customers.

The antidrug campaign may raise questions in the United States about human rights issues, said Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s public policy school. Human rights groups say antidrug police have killed thousands of people without due process.

China hopes the Philippines, a rival claimant to sovereignty in the sea between them, will ease away from the United States as part of a SinoPhilippine friendship that included China’s pledge in 2016 for $24 billion in aid and investment.

If you sell one or two ships to the Philippines and the Philippines buys it, what signal does that send to China, that the Philippines is an unloyal and unreliable neighbor and partner? Araral said. For the Philippines, you don’t want to send the wrong signal to China.

In Southeast Asia, only Singapore has the formula down for getting U.S.made weaponry, said Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Singapore buys American fighters, helicopters and drones. Officials in Vietnam, he noted, have looked into buying Americanmade arms but fear they might get turned down, he said.

American lawmakers may worry Manila would use weapons recklessly, Thayer said.

There’s no one there, leaving Singapore out, where you have a wellestablished relationship that would run smoothly, and where there is none it hits the bumps in the road,” he said.

Smaller, used and donated arms

Manila and Washington have lived by a mutual defense treaty since 1951, followed by a visiting forces agreement in 1991 and ongoing joint naval exercises. U.S. officials count the Philippines as an Asian ally useful for containing China’s maritime expansion also a reason Manila wants to upgrade its navy in case its relations with Beijing someday sour.

Washington also has sold the Philippines pistols, assault rifles, ammunition and rocket launchers since 1980, according to a Federation of American Scientists research paper.

Small arms used for antiterrorism work or coast guard patrols normally cause little political concern, scholars note.

The database GlobalFirePower.com ranks the Philippine military strength No. 63 out of 137 countries. Expresident Benigno Aquino kicked off a military modernization program that called for two new frigates or warships, but domestic media said last year a special assistant to Duterte had intervened in the deal to acquire those from a builder in South Korea.

Philippine officials may need to keep depending on small, donated, refurbished arms for lowkey use, and not just from the United States, Koh said. Foreign sellers are already obliging. In 2017 South Korea donated a corvette warship to the Philippine navy, and last year an Australian shipbuilder said it would deliver six offshore patrol vessels.

Source: Voice of America

Why the US Might Reject Selling Arms to the Philippines

TAIPEI The Philippine foreign secretary says his country wants to buy American weaponry to shore up defense. But although the two countries have worked closely together on security over the past 70 years, costs and broader security worries will make any arms hard to get, experts in Asia caution.

Secretary Teodoro Locsin told a news conference in Manila that he and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had discussed the vital support of the United States for Philippine military modernization. Mutual defense, he said, should cover a partner’s back as well as its front.

Locsin later tweeted that he hopes the U.S. government will sell weapons to rearm our military for selfdefense.

But the Philippines may not be able to afford complex new weapons systems, while U.S. officials would worry that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte might use them in his deadly antidrug campaign, experts believe. Duterte for his part might not want any new U.S. hardware to upset a 3year friendship with China, which has its own differences with the United States.

The geopolitical issue, that’s one, second is the limited funding as well as security concerns when it comes to sourcing equipment, said Collin Koh, a maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. So, in a way it limits the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).

Political complexity

The U.S. Arms Export Control Act governing foreign sales is what one political consultant called for this report a minefield of intricacies and legalities. For that reason, scholars say, the U.S. government sells its new, highend arms such as aircraft largely to longterm partners such as Australia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Those partners know the Act, can pay the billions of dollars for new equipment and do not turn the weapons on their own people. Sales sometimes irk China as its navy expands onto the high seas, but Chinese leaders are used to the repeat customers.

The antidrug campaign may raise questions in the United States about human rights issues, said Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s public policy school. Human rights groups say antidrug police have killed thousands of people without due process.

China hopes the Philippines, a rival claimant to sovereignty in the sea between them, will ease away from the United States as part of a SinoPhilippine friendship that included China’s pledge in 2016 for $24 billion in aid and investment.

If you sell one or two ships to the Philippines and the Philippines buys it, what signal does that send to China, that the Philippines is an unloyal and unreliable neighbor and partner? Araral said. For the Philippines, you don’t want to send the wrong signal to China.

In Southeast Asia, only Singapore has the formula down for getting U.S.made weaponry, said Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Singapore buys American fighters, helicopters and drones. Officials in Vietnam, he noted, have looked into buying Americanmade arms but fear they might get turned down, he said.

American lawmakers may worry Manila would use weapons recklessly, Thayer said.

There’s no one there, leaving Singapore out, where you have a wellestablished relationship that would run smoothly, and where there is none it hits the bumps in the road,” he said.

Smaller, used and donated arms

Manila and Washington have lived by a mutual defense treaty since 1951, followed by a visiting forces agreement in 1991 and ongoing joint naval exercises. U.S. officials count the Philippines as an Asian ally useful for containing China’s maritime expansion also a reason Manila wants to upgrade its navy in case its relations with Beijing someday sour.

Washington also has sold the Philippines pistols, assault rifles, ammunition and rocket launchers since 1980, according to a Federation of American Scientists research paper.

Small arms used for antiterrorism work or coast guard patrols normally cause little political concern, scholars note.

The database GlobalFirePower.com ranks the Philippine military strength No. 63 out of 137 countries. Expresident Benigno Aquino kicked off a military modernization program that called for two new frigates or warships, but domestic media said last year a special assistant to Duterte had intervened in the deal to acquire those from a builder in South Korea.

Philippine officials may need to keep depending on small, donated, refurbished arms for lowkey use, and not just from the United States, Koh said. Foreign sellers are already obliging. In 2017 South Korea donated a corvette warship to the Philippine navy, and last year an Australian shipbuilder said it would deliver six offshore patrol vessels.

Source: Voice of America

Official: China Planning Series of New Moves to Unify with Resistant Taiwan

TAIPEI China’s warning Tuesday that Taiwan should avoid the pursuit of political independence kicks off what a senior policymaker in Taipei predicts will be a series of new actions aimed at pulling the democratic island closer to Beijing’s control.

In a report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his government would resolutely oppose and contain any effort to separate Taiwan from China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Taiwan, though proudly self-ruled for more than 70 years, has never declared itself constitutionally independent.

After the annual 10-day legislative session in Beijing, the Chinese government will invite a roster of Taiwanese people for events to discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s January 2 calls for peace, unification, talks and joint development between the two sides, Taipei’s deputy Mainland Affairs Council minister Chiu Chui-cheng told Voice of America. His government rejects unification.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s and not ruled out using force to unify the two sides. More than 80 percent of Taiwanese oppose unification, government surveys indicate. The Chinese president’s January 2 proposals, known as Xi’s five points, renewed insistence in Beijing that the two sides merge.

We can see recently that organizations set up in Taiwan are inviting our Taiwanese businesspeople and students for symposium and forums, Chiu said. We think, after the National People’s Congress, they will push out a series of activities and laws to appeal for Xi’s five points.

National People’s Congress

The annual congress bringing together about 3,000 delegates normally starts and ends with calls for China-Taiwan unification. This year’s congress coincides with the release of 31 Chinese government incentives to bring over Taiwanese citizens for work, study and investment. It’s also the first political milestone since Xi’s speech.

The congress will get a high degree of attention from officials in Taipei, Chiu said.

The congress, also widely seen as a rubber-stamp agency of the Communist government, can approve laws on political and economic policy. In 2005 it passed the Anti-Secession Law that formally authorized use of force against Taiwan if needed to stop formal independence.

The congress may pass laws this year to back proposals raised by Xi in January, Chiu said.

Events tethered to this year’s congressional session may cover as well Xi’s suggestion that China govern Taiwan as one-country, two systems, Chiu added. That term that implies master control by Beijing with a measure of local autonomy for Taiwan.

‘Democratic consultations’

Post-congressional activities aimed at Taiwan would likely sync with Xi’s call in January for democratic consultation between Chinese leaders and Taiwanese political camps beyond the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Chiu said.

The ruling party takes a guarded view of relations with China, and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has irked Beijing by rejecting its call for dialogue.

But Taiwan’s main opposition the Nationalist Party embraces dialogue with Beijing. It’s set to lock heads with the ruling party in this year’s campaign for the 2020 presidential race. Many Taiwanese advocate trade and investment dialogue with China while keeping their self-rule.

Han Kuo-yu, the Nationalist-backed mayor of Taiwan’s major port city Kaohsiung, is due to visit two mainland Chinese cities in late March. Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office expresses welcome and support, Xinhua said.

Chiu cautioned that other governments that have talked peace with China never meet a good outcome.

We hope our citizens and compatriots can all have this kind of common understanding and together defend our democratic autonomy, he said.

The Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office is probably working on ways to implement democratic consultation, said Yun Sun, East Asia Program senior associate with the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, D.C.

I feel like there has to be something on that, Sun said. Otherwise they won’t be able to answer to Xi Jinping’s calling for democratic consultation among all political forces from all industries and all trades on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Those consultations will fall in line with the peaceful development of cross-Strait (two-way) relations as well as the will of the compatriots across the Strait and the tides of the times, Xinhua says, citing a Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson.

Moderate tone

Xi is also on the defensive after the Taiwan president’s rebuttal to his January 2 speech raised her public approval ratings by 10 percentage points, said Lin Chong-pin, a retired strategic studies professor in Taiwan.

Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang dropped the five points at a conference later in January, Lin noted.

I think Xi went through his first learning curve after he stated five points, which actually catapulted Tsai from a valley up to a height, and that’s why Xi immediately changed course, Lin said.

Source: Voice of America