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Taiwan

Xi warns Taiwan will face ‘punishment of history’ for separatism

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping warned self-ruled Taiwan on Tuesday that it will face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at separatism, offering his strongest warning yet to the island claimed by China as its sacred territory. Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potentially dangerous military flashpoint. China’s hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. China suspects Tsai wants to push…

Taiwan urges calm over panic buying of toilet paper

TAIPEI: Taiwan's premier called for calm Tuesday following a desperate run on toilet paper on the island, sparked by speculation of imminent price hikes.  Shelves usually stacked with toilet paper, kitchen paper and boxed tissues stood empty in many hypermarkets and supermarkets as residents stockpiled supplies. Major online retailers had also run out, including PChome which reportedly sold five million packs of toilet paper in three days. "We ask the public not to panic and not to rush to buy," Premier William Lai…

Straws, plastic bottles, cups to be banned in Taiwan by 2030

TAIPEI: Taiwan is planning a blanket ban on single-use plastic items including straws, cups and shopping bags by 2030, with restaurants facing new restrictions from next year. It is the latest push by Taiwan to cut waste and pollution after introducing a recycling programme and charges for plastic bags. The island's eco-drive has also extended to limiting the use of incense at temples and festivals to protect public health. Its new plan will force major chain restaurants to stop providing plastic straws for in-store…

Rescuers scour tilting buildings after Taiwan quake kills seven

HUALIEN: Rescue workers pulled survivors and bodies from buildings tilting precariously in the Taiwanese city of Hualien Wednesday after an overnight earthquake killed at least seven people, injured more than 250 and left dozens missing. Emergency responders were focusing on a 12-storey apartment block and a nearby hotel, both of which were leaning dangerously with their lower floors pancaked after the 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular tourist city late Tuesday. The national fire agency said seven people had been…

At least two killed, 150 missing after quake rocks Taiwan tourist area

HUALIEN, Taiwan: Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, some using their hands as they searched for about 150 people missing after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near the popular Taiwanese tourist city of Hualien overnight. At least two people were killed and 219 injured in the quake that hit near the coastal city just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said. The latest figures from government data indicated at least 149 people were missing. Many of those were believed…

Taiwan hotel collapses after 6.4-magnitude quake

TAIPEI: A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the national fire agency said, with reports that several other buildings have been toppled with some people trapped. Images on local television showed the Marshal Hotel in Hualien slanted on its side, partially crumpled into the ground. Media reports said there were 30 people trapped inside with others crawling to safety. The fire agency said a second hotel had also been damaged, with television images showing roads strewn…

Taiwan stymies new China flights amid route row, official says

TAIPEI/SHANGHAI: Taiwan’s aviation regulator has stalled applications for new flights from China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines amid a row between Beijing and the self-ruled island over air routes, a regulatory official said on Friday. Taiwan had not yet approved the applications to add flights during the approaching Lunar New Year holiday because in recent weeks the airlines had used four disputed air routes close to the island, said the official, who asked not to be identified. This month China opened several…

Panama opens embassy in China after cutting Taiwan ties

BEIJING: Panama opened its first embassy in China on Thursday five months after cutting ties with Taiwan, which has seen its allies dwindle against the mainland's growing influence. In a speech heralding the embassy's "historic" establishment, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said his "commitment to the One China principle" was made with the benefits for Panamanian people in mind -- alluding to Beijing's position that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory and will be brought back into the fold at some point.…