Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to South Korea from Aug. 13 to 18. On his way to Seoul, his plane passed over the sky of the People's Republic of China and he sent a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping wishing that God bless the Chinese people. Beijing, which doesn't have diplomatic ties with the Vatican, allowed the pope to fly through its air space for the first time.1 Comment
While the Chinese civil war was going on, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek made Lieutenant General Liu Fei a deputy chief of the general staff at the Ministry of National Defense. Liu, assigned to attend the Japanese Army's Military College (陸軍大學) in 1927, was a collaborator providing the war intelligence for Mao Zedong, who defeated Chiang easily and proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Beijing on Oct. 1, 1949.
Sixty-nine years ago from last Friday, I heard Emperor Hirohito's gyokuon hoso (玉音放送), or broadcast, in jade voice. He started to tell all his subjects "Despite the best that has been done by everyone ..." which I understood, and continued to drone on for quite some time. There were only a handful of people in Taiwan who heard the broadcast, although there had been a notice on it on the previous day.2 Comments
On August 1, Japan named 158 islands that had not been named previously as part of efforts to reinforce its claims. Among them were five tiny uninhabited islets in what are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan but the Diaoyus in China and the Tiaoyutais in Taiwan. Both Taiwan and China have a better substantiated claim on the archipelago.
One of the worst air crashes in Taiwan's civil aviation history occurred on July 23 near Magong Airport on the outlying island of Penghu or the Pescadores. Altogether 48 people aboard TransAsia Airways Flight 222, including the crew of four, were killed, when the ATR72 turboprop liner crashed into houses in Xixi Village by the side of the runway. The black boxes were found, and authorities are trying to find out how the accident happened.
Tsai Ing-wen, chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is very good at borrowing technical terms to create a bunch of gobbledygook to suit her political purposes. A latest borrowing is "natural ingredients."1 Comment
Many battles have been fought in the 365-square-kilometer Gaza Strip in Palestine where 1.9 million Arab people now live. Another battle, between Hamas and Israel, is under way. Israel launched a ground operation last Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities.
A new caliphate was born on June 29, 90 years after the last one. The Ottoman Empire was overthrown by Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Republic of Turkey in 1924. A major development in Arabic jihadist history, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declared the reestablishment of the caliphate with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph of the Islamic State. Baghdadi now wishes to be known as Caliph Ibrahim.
Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of the country's pacifist postwar constitution that will allow the military to help defend allies and others "in a close relationship" with Japan under what is known as "collective self-defense." The shift is needed as Japan alleges the People's Republic of China is planning to invade the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Diaoyutai in Taiwan, which both claim them.
A brief "rectification of names" row took place not long ago between the Tokyo National Museum and the Taipei National Palace Museum over the exhibit of the latter's treasured antiquities at the former.