US bill proposed to add Taiwan to ‘NATO Plus’ group of states
25-Mar-2021 Intellasia | FocusTaiwan
US Representative Scott Perry has proposed a bill in Congress to include Taiwan in the NATO plus five countries.
The proposed legislation, named the “Taiwan PLUS Act,” was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 19 and has since been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Voice of America’s Chinese-language service reported on Tuesday.
The bill notes that support for defense cooperation with Taiwan is critical to the national security of the US and urges that Taiwan be included in the so-called “NATO Plus” group, which currently includes Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel and New Zealand.
Escalating EU-China tensions could jeopardize new investment deal
Worsening tensions between the European Union and China could jeopardize an investment deal that the two sides recently negotiated.
The EU on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity for human rights abuses in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. The move was part of a coordinated action against Beijing by the U.S. and its allies including the U.K. and Canada.
China swiftly retaliated against the EU, announcing its own blacklist of 10 individuals — including European lawmakers — and four entities.
Beijing’s response in turn prompted warnings from several members of the European Parliament or MEPs, saying they would not ratify the EU-China investment deal that was agreed to in December.
Pharma, electronics propel Singapore factory output to 16.4% growth in February
26-Mar-2021 The Business Times
SINGAPORE factory output jumped 16.4 per cent in February, in its fourth straight month of growth, as the linchpin electronics cluster continued to underpin gains.
The latest surge extended the year-on-year increase of 9.2 per cent in January, and beat the median estimate of 15.8 per cent expansion in a Bloomberg poll.
When biomedical contributions were excluded, industrial production added 13.6 per cent, according to figures from the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday.
That’s even as the biomedical manufacturing cluster grew by 23.9 per cent on higher output of active pharmaceutical ingredients and with higher export demand for medical devices. It was the volatile cluster’s first month in the black since November last year.
Electronics, on the other hand, spiked 30.3 per cent, led by a surge in semiconductor output. “In particular, growth of the semiconductors segment was supported by demand from 5G markets and a low production base a year ago,” said the EDB.
Thailand to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists from July
26-Mar-2021 The Business Times
Thailand will waive quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign visitors arriving on the resort island of Phuket from July 1, the first key reopening for the tourism-reliant nation.
A panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Friday approved the proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70 per cent of the island’s residents to prepare for the reopening for vaccinated tourists, according to Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.