Taipei - China says aim of its drills near Taiwan is to combat 'arrogance' of separatists

Taipei is the vibrant capital of Taiwan, a unique destination that mixes both history and modern culture. With its buzzing nightlife, culinary delights, and stunning natural wonders, Taipei is a city that offers something for everyone.

Located in northern Taiwan, Taipei is one of the country’s largest cities and has a population of approximately 2.6 million people. The city is situated near the junction of two major rivers, the Tamsui and Xindian River, and is bordered by mountains to the southeast. Its strategic location has made it a trading hub and a center of commerce since the early days of its history.

The name “Taipei” means “north of Taiwan” and was originally given by the local aboriginal inhabitants of the region. However, the city wasn’t officially named Taipei until 1895, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan after the Sino-Japanese War. During the Japanese colonial era, Taipei saw great modernization and development, including the construction of Taiwan’s first railway and modern port.

After the end of World War II, Taiwan was returned to Chinese control and Taipei became the capital of the newly established Republic of China. The city has since undergone further modernization to become the bustling metropolis it is today.

One of the most popular attractions in Taipei is the Taipei 101 tower, which was once the tallest building in the world. Standing at 508 meters tall, this skyscraper has 101 floors and boasts breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck. Visitors can also shop at the upscale Taipei 101 mall located in the building’s base.

Another popular destination is the National Palace Museum, which houses a vast collection of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks. Some of the museum’s most famous items include the Jadeite Cabbage, a strikingly detailed piece made entirely out of jade, and the meat-shaped stone, a carving that remarkably resembles a piece of braised pork.

Visitors can also explore the traditional side of Taipei by wandering the narrow streets of the city’s oldest district, Dadaocheng. This historic area is home to many traditional shops and markets, selling everything from herbs and spices to tea and handmade crafts.

For nature lovers, Taipei offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking in the nearby mountains or visiting the Yangmingshan National Park. In the park, visitors can enjoy stunning natural scenery, hot springs, and even cherry blossom viewing during the spring months.

Food is another highlight of Taipei, with the city being known for its street food culture. Night markets such as Shilin and Raohe are popular among locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of delicious dishes such as stinky tofu, fried chicken cutlet, and bubble tea.

Overall, Taipei is a city of contrasts between tradition and modernity, bustling urban life and natural beauty. It is a destination that offers endless possibilities for exploration and is sure to leave any traveler with unforgettable memories.

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What war? Taiwan residents seemed in blissful denial when I recently visited


23-05-15 18:18

While tensions between China and Taiwan continue to rise, life in Taipei remains serene and daily life continues uninterrupted in the face of a potential invasion. Fearful of being the next theater of invasion after Ukraine, Taiwan has ramped up its national service, opening it up to women for the first time and offering training courses in civilian defence. China continues to send warships around Taiwan in an aggressive stance aimed to assert its authority over this self-governing territory. Despite this, locals remain unfazed, focusing instead on the country's semiconductor industry, health system, public services and world-renowned food scene.
Taiwan’s Trump Wants to Make Nice With Beijing

Foreign Policy

23-05-15 15:51

Billionaire Terry Gou is running to become Taiwan's next President, offering dialogue with cross-strait neighbour, China, at a critical geopolitical time for the country's future. Gou, whose personal wealth exceeds $7bn, is entering the race amid growing concerns over a potential military invasion from China, betting that friendly relations are the best defence to avoid confrontation. However, Gou's deep business and personal ties with China could, in fact, hinder any attempt to resolve the country's issues, particularly those centred around a controversial take-over of Taiwan by China. Current President, Tsai Ing-wen, cannot run again and has nominated Vice President Lai Ching-te as her replacement, who is viewed as even more pro-independence than Tsai. With the country facing a number of domestic challenges, including foreign influence allegations and China's aggressive stance that reunification with Taiwan is inevitable, the Presidential race will be hugely consequential for not only Taiwan's future, but regional stability too.
How Taiwan’s Growing Economic Woes Will Impact Its 2024 Elections


23-05-15 13:19

Taiwan's technical recession and economic troubles are expected to affect the prospects of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidate, Vice President William Lai, in the 2024 elections. The decline in exports has been the primary concern as weak demand for semiconductors, which account for around 40% of Taiwan's exports, has been the key issue. Other issues include higher taxes, excessive real estate speculation, rising unemployment, and a rapidly aging labor force. As Taiwan’s central bank contemplates increasing interest rates to curb inflationary pressure, young voters are expected to be the most affected demographic since youth unemployment for citizens between the ages of 20 and 24 is at 11.8%.
Taiwanese who buy 'If China Invades' book called up over 'sensitive reading material'


23-05-15 13:02

Taiwanese book buyers of If China Invades have reportedly been receiving mysterious calls from people claiming to be pollsters conducting a survey on "sensitive reading material". The Taiwanese ministry of digital affairs has said it will contact representatives of one of Taiwan’s biggest bookshops after customers raised complaints about being questioned on their reading habits after purchasing the book. Cynthia Yang, deputy executive of the Here I Stand Project, says the tone of some conversations suggests that calls came from a well-organised group trying to influence Taiwan and promote the Communist party’s view of Taiwan.
Taiwan kicks off annual Han Kuang war games with eye on latest PLA threats

South China Morning Post

23-05-15 10:01

Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises are being held this week, with the aim of testing the ability of Taiwanese military personnel to respond to a range of potential scenarios involving the PLA. The events will include both tabletop drills as well as live-fire exercises slated to be held in July. US personnel are also said to be attending in some capacity - though it remains unclear whether this is limited to observing exercises or participation as well. Cross-strait tensions have been ratcheting up over the last year, with exercises around Taiwan increasing in scale and frequency. China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and regards the country as having no right to official overseas relations with any other country. Meanwhile, the United States has pledged to defend Taiwan's sovereignty but does not recognise it as an independent state.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sells entire stake in TSMC


23-05-16 04:32

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has sold its holdings in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) after his worries about Taiwan grew. Buffett had previously expressed concerns about the future of the self-governed democratic island where TSMC is based, amidst geopolitical tensions with China. This followed Berkshire's announcement in February that it had sold 86% of its TSMC shares, having purchased them only months earlier for $4.1bn. TSMC is the world's largest chip manufacturer and one of Taiwan's most valuable listed companies.
Advocacy or practical? Taiwan evaluating plan for Asia’s first 4-day work week

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 09:00

The Taiwanese government is considering implementing a three-day weekend following a proposal signed by over 5,000 citizens. Four government ministries are assessing the idea and will generate an assessment report by the end of June. Although it would be a first in Asia, Taiwan's export-driven economy, largely made up of producer firms, is expected to oppose the motion to pay workers for an extra day of the week. To produce the goods that drive Taiwan's technology industry around 30% of its US$800bn economy, producers typically operate seven days a week.
Beijing LGBT Center shuttered as crackdown grows in China

Associated Press

23-05-16 13:27

The Beijing LGBT Center has become the latest organisation to be closed under a crackdown by the Chinese government. The group's notice of cessation marks a critical blow to advocacy groups that once had been able to be public about their work for LGBTQ+ rights. They focused on low-cost mental health counselling and published lists of of LGBTQ+-friendly health professionals. “In our political, economic and cultural center, to have this type of organization. It was a symbol of the LGBT movement’s presence,” said one anonymous activist.
China says ready to ‘smash’ Taiwan self-rule as US prepares major arms package, sends advisers

Associated Press

23-05-16 13:14

China’s military has warned it is ready to “smash” Taiwan's independence, as the US reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and other military assistance to the self-governing island. China claims the 23 million-person island as its own territory and is prepared to bring it under its control by force if necessary. While China's actions thus far, including daily air and sea incursions around Taiwan, have had limited effect, analysts have warned of the likelihood of a major conflict involving all three sides and possibly US allies including Japan.
Taiwan allows gay couples to adopt children

Nikkei Asia

23-05-16 12:23

Taiwan has amended a law to allow same-sex couples to adopt children not related to them, moving closer towards full marriage equality. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party hailed the change as a "milestone". In 2017, Taiwan's highest court ruled in favour of gay marriage, to come into effect from 2019. However, there is still no law allowing same-sex marriage, meaning couples must register as unmarried partners and do not enjoy the same legal protections as heterosexual married couples.
How US tax breaks would lift Taiwanese investors and invoke China’s ire

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 18:00

A group of US senators has proposed the Taiwan Tax Agreement Act of 2023 that would permit tax breaks for Taiwanese investors. The senators said that this will help to increase investment between the US and Taiwan by removing the double-taxation currently in place in relations between the countries. Offering tax relief could inspire further Taiwanese tech firms to move to the US to set up shop, including the construction of a TSMC $40bn plant in the state of Arizona. According to data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taipei, Taiwan invested $23.73bn in the US between 1952 and 2022, the second highest amount after mainland China. Analysis from experts suggested that this move would increase economic, capital, and personnel mobility between the two countries, disrupting China's chip-making lithography machines and shifting the focus into tech collaboration and development based around US-led tax-friendly policies.
Brand China a ‘threat’, Truss tells Sunak in Taiwan speech

The Independent

23-05-16 21:15

The UK's newly-appointed foreign secretary, Liz Truss, will call on the country's Chancellor Rishi Sunak to designate China as a national security threat during a speech in Taiwan this Wednesday. Truss will also urge the government to 'urgently' close China's 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK. This marks a significant hardening of the UK's stance towards China, as prime minister Boris Johnson only last year described China as the "biggest long-term threat to Britain". Truss is the first former UK prime minister to visit Taiwan since Margaret Thatcher in the 1990s.
Taiwan’s navy says first landing platform dock expected to enter service in June

South China Morning Post

23-05-17 00:00

Taiwan's first landing platform dock, the locally built 10,600-tonne Yushan-class vessel, is expected to enter service next month to boost defences against potential PLA attacks on its offshore islets – including in the South China Sea. The Yushan-class warship will be used to transport landing craft such as amphibious vehicles, in wartime being an amphibious transport vessel for combat operations and will be able to transport several amphibious armoured personnel carriers along with some 670 soldiers, according to CSBC. It will also have the ability to serve as a hospital ship during natural disasters, providing humanitarian aid and being used for relief missions.
UBS Maintains Investment Flows in Taiwan as Tensions Mount


23-05-16 23:00

UBS's Taiwan wealth unit is expecting double-digit growth this year, despite fears over tensions between China and Taiwan. While some clients are shifting assets to financial centres such as Hong Kong or Switzerland, others are reconfiguring their portfolios and bringing funds back to Taiwan, said Head of Wealth Management Henry Su. The unit is also aiming for double-digit revenue growth and plans to offer historically local clients alternative investments and concentrate more on onshore banking for the island economy. Last year, Taiwanese businesses decreased their new investments in China and banks cut their exposure to China to the lowest level in at least a decade.
In Taiwan, U.K.’s shortest serving PM urges West to confront China

Japan Times

23-05-17 06:09

Former UK prime minister Liz Truss has urged her successor, Rishi Sunak, to take a tougher stance with China. Visiting Taiwan, Truss described the self-ruled state as “an enduring rebuke to totalitarianism”. China considers Taiwan to be part of its sovereign territory and has previously warned the UK not to get involved. Truss demanded the immediate closure of Confucius Institutes - cultural centres managed by Beijing - in favour of centres run by Hong Kong and Taiwanese people. China warned that the visit would result in harm to the UK. Taiwanes president Tsai Ing-wen has rejected any claim to Taiwan by the Chinese government.
Don’t trust China, Truss warns Sunak

The Independent

23-05-17 05:17

Liz Truss, the former UK Prime Minister, will ask Britain's Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to define China as a “threat” to national security in a speech in Taipei. In her address, Truss is to question Mr Sunak to honour the language he used in last summer's Conservative Party leadership contest when he described China as the “biggest threat” to the UK. Her visit to Taiwan has caused controversy, with senior Tories warning her trip risks undermining Mr Sunak on the world stage and “complicating” the Government’s stance on China.
Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss warns of China threats during Taiwan visit

The Toronto Star

23-05-17 05:12

Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has called China the “biggest long-term threat” to Britain while warning of its growing political and economic influence. Truss is the first former UK prime minister to visit self-ruled Taiwan since Margaret Thatcher's visit in 1990. She hailed the country as “an enduring rebuke to totalitarianism” whose fate was a “core interest” to Europe. China’s relations with Britain and other Western democracies remain in decline, as they dispute issues such as human rights, trade technology, China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea and its crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong.
Can China Thread the Needle on Ukraine?

Foreign Affairs

23-05-17 04:00

China is attempting to persuade both sides of the Ukraine conflict to resume negotiations, casting itself as a neutral and helpful global leader. This move comes as China becomes increasingly pessimistic it can prevent the deteriorating US-China relations. While Beijing wishes to preserve its relationship with Russia, it fears that its position viewed as pro-Russia will poison its reputation in Europe, further harming its security environment. As a result, China has attempted to be neutral and offer its good offices to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

The Ukrainian conflict presents complicated challenges for China, potentially strengthening US alliances in Europe and beyond. As a result, Beijing has begun to offer its good offices to resolve the crisis, articulating a vision for global security and becoming more involved diplomatically. China aims to position itself as neutral and limit its support for Russia, even as it prioritizes its partnership with its closest strategic partner.

Recent remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France that the status of Crimea depends on how the problem is perceived provoked widespread condemnation, and 80 European lawmakers urged the French government to expel the ambassador. The Chinese government tried to downplay the situation, stating that the ambassador was only expressing his personal views. China is likely to do just enough to cast itself as a helpful and responsible global leader but not enough to be held accountable for achieving an end to the Ukraine conflict on terms that would be fair and acceptable to both sides.

Taiwan opposition picks mayor with cautious China stance for presidential race

Financial Times

23-05-17 09:19

Taiwan’s main opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT), has selected the current mayor of the country's largest municipality, Hou Yu-ih, as its presidential nominee for the national elections in January. The founder of Foxconn, Terry Gou, who is the world’s largest assembler of iPhones was defeated for the nomination. Hou has taken a much more cautious approach to Beijing than Gou and is more likely to appeal to Taiwanese voters who overwhelmingly reject unification with China. Although China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, the island has run its own affairs for more than 70 years, and Beijing has not controlled it since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. However, China has threatened to take Taiwan by force should it resist unification forever. The KMT continues to identify with China, which is Beijing's preferred choice, but Taiwanese voters have tended to alternate between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party.