Taiwan Government and International – March 2018

Hualien Temblor - A major earthquake struck Hualien on February 6, killing 17, most of them Yun Men Tsui, above, which partially collapsed. Photo Wikipedia.

Taiwan Welcomes the Year of the Dog

Taiwan celebrated the Chinese New Year on February 15 with warm temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius in the north and as high as 30 degrees Celsius in the south. President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the nation at the start of the holiday, which ran through February 20, first offering condolences to the families of the victims of the February 6 earthquake in Hualien and praising the efforts of brave responders involved in the search and rescue of victims and the solidarity of the Taiwan people in the face of disaster.

Tsai also observed that the Year of the Dog is starting off well for Taiwan, with unemployment at the lowest point in decades and the TAIEX stock index breaching 10,000 for only the second time in its history, indicating a strengthening economy. She also cited her administration’s efforts to transform the economy through the “5+2 Industrial Innovation” plan and the “Forward-looking Infrastructure Project.”

Cabinet Reshuffle

Taiwan’s government announced a partial Cabinet reshuffle on February 23, with the five new ministers installed on February 26. The ministries involved include Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Labor (MOL), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), National Defense (MND), and Veteran Affairs Council (VAC). Joseph Jaushieh Wu exited his post as secretary-general of the Office of the President to take on role of Minister of Foreign Affairs, with previous minister David Lee taking over as secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC). Wu has previously served in such posts as secretary-general of the NSC, minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), and chief of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.

Former Kaohsiung deputy mayor Hsu Ming-chun replaced Lin Mei-chu at the Ministry of Labor after Lin resigned due to health concerns, while former MAC minister Chen Ming-tung reprises his role at the council, replacing Katharine Chang as MAC minister. MND Minister Feng Shih-kuan was replaced by Yen De-fa, previously secretary-general of the NSC, and former chief of the armed forces general staff Chiu Kuo-cheng succeeded Lee Hsiang-jow at the VAC.