Taiwan. According to Countryaah, Taiwan’s Prime Minister Sean Chen resigned in early February. He indicated health reasons, but there were speculations that President Ma Yingjeou had fired him because of the country’s weak economic development. He was succeeded by Deputy Prime Minister Jiang Yi-huah. The entire government then resigned, which is customary when the country changes prime minister. On February 18, Jiang Yi-huah and his government with several exchanged members were installed.
After 17 years of negotiations, Taiwan and Japan signed an agreement in April that allows Taiwanese fishermen to fish near the disputed uninhabited archipelago Senkaku (in Chinese Diaoyu) in the East China Sea. China’s foreign ministry expressed concern that Japan signed a bilateral agreement with Taiwan, which according to Beijing is a Chinese breakaway republic. The reason for the conflict is that there is oil and natural gas under the seabed around the islands.
The death of a Taiwanese fisherman in May led to a diplomatic conflict between the governments of Taiwan and the Philippines. The fisherman is shot to death by Philippine Coast Guard in an area of the South China Sea that both countries consider belongs to their area. Philippine authorities stated that the Coast Guard had acted in self-defense since the fisherman tried to hit the Coast Guard’s boat. The Taiwanese president demanded a formal apology from the Government of the Philippines, compensation to the fisherman’s family and punishment of the guilty.
The Government of the Philippines submitted a formal apology, but Taiwan refused to accept it. The Taiwan government imposed a ban on new Filipino guest workers in Taiwan and decided that those already in the country must go home when their work permit expires. In addition, the Coast Guard was sent out to protect Taiwanese fishing boats.
In August, Taiwan lifted the sanctions against the Philippines since the Philippine government officially apologized and provided the fisherman’s family with financial compensation. In addition, the Philippine authorities admitted that the Coast Guard used excessive force. The Government of the Philippines recommended that the eight coast guards who admitted shooting should be charged with murder.
Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu was forced to resign in July after a conscript died after a punishment by his superiors. The 24-year-old man died of heat stroke after being forced to do hard exercises in the roasting sun as a punishment for having brought his cellphone to the military base. Eighteen senior soldiers were charged with the death toll, which also triggered major demonstrations in the capital, Taibei.
The protests led in August to a law change that would close military courts and prisons in January 2014. The 350 emergency cases that went on in military courts would be transferred to ordinary courts and military prisoners would be transferred to ordinary prisons.
After almost a week in the post, the new Defense Minister, Andrew Yang, also resigned to plagiarized newspaper text in an article he wrote six years earlier.
A quarrel over a nuclear vote led to tangibility among MPs in August. The brawl concerned a vote on whether to hold a referendum on building a fourth nuclear power plant in Taiwan. The MPs boxed and poured water on each other before being dispatched by guards. The government felt that the new nuclear power plant was needed to avoid power outages. Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Progress Party, is opposed to the new nuclear power plant for fear of security. In March, over 200,000 people took part in an anti-nuclear demonstration.
In November, Gambia terminated diplomatic relations with Taiwan after 18 years. According to the country’s president Yahya Jammeh, the cause was “national strategic interests”. It was speculated whether China’s increased influence in Africa was behind. After Gambia’s departure, Taiwan was recognized by 22 countries, including three in Africa.