China prepares live-fire military exercises; Taiwan defence ministry hit by cyber attack – live | Taiwan


Taiwan defence ministry claims cyber attacks

The Taiwan defence ministry has said its website suffered cyber attacks and went offline temporarily on Thursday, adding it is working closely with other authorities to enhance cyber security as tensions with China rise.

Earlier this week, several government websites, including the presidential office, were subject to overseas cyber attacks, some of which authorities said were launched by China and Russia.

Key events

China’s French ambassador says Taiwanese people would be ‘reeducated’

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson

China’s ambassador to France has said the Taiwanese people would be “reeducated” after any successful annexation by China, in a fiery interview on French television.

The ambassador, Lu Shaye, accused Taiwan’s governing Democratic Progressive Party of conducting “extremist” propaganda and turning the Taiwanese people against “reunification” with China.

We will re-educate. I’m sure that…the Taiwanese population will again become favourable of the reunification, and will become patriots again,” he said.

Online, many observers noted the term “reeducation” is also used to describe Chinese authorities treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang.

There, authorities have sent an estimated 1-2 million people through what Beijing terms as “vocational education and training centres”.

Human rights groups and other governments say they are in fact part of a massive detention network. Lu denied the re-education would happen under threat, comparing it to French education of students on the values of its republic.

Challenged by the interviewer that Beijing wanted to have people thinking “correctly” in line with its own position because it did not like resistance, Lu said resistance “is not…the problem”.

“The Taiwanese authorities apply an approach of… how should I say… slicing the salami – advancing bit by bit. If we don’t react, if we don’t respond, in the end they will achieve their goal: independence.”

Lu said “the majority” of Taiwan’s population were in favour of formally becoming a part of China just one or two decades ago. It wasn’t clear what his claim was based on.

An analysis of dozens of polls conducted by various organisations between 1994 and 2000 show that only on two occasions have a majority of respondents supported unification. Both were polls conducted by the policy council of the current opposition Kuomintang party, in 2000.

All other polls showed support between 15 and 30%.Recent polling has found support for unification to be at record lows. One poll conducted by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Centre (ESC) in June found just 1.3% of respondents wanted unification “as soon as possible”, and 5.2% wanted to maintain the status quo before an eventual “move toward unification,”.

Chinese ambassador to France saying Taiwan would be subjected to “reeducation” after annexation, ie the Xinjiang treatment https://t.co/tsJ39Jo8ur

— Chris Horton 何貴森 (@heguisen) August 3, 2022

China FM calls Pelosi visit ‘complete farce’, vows to punish those who offend China

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “complete farce”.

“The irreversible historical trend of Taiwan’s return to the motherland cannot be changed. Those who offend China will surely be punished,” he said.

Wang made the remarks on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia on Wednesday.

The United States is violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of “democracy,” he told reporters.

Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and others ride the coattails of the United States and act against the noble cause of the Chinese nation.

These perverse actions will not alter the international consensus on the one-China principle, nor the historical trend that Taiwan will return to the motherland.”

China’s SC&FM Wang Yi: Speaker Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region is an out-and-out farce. The irreversible historical trend of Taiwan’s return to the motherland cannot be changed. Those who offend China will surely be punished. pic.twitter.com/OXcnHf7u0T

— Qin Gang 秦刚 (@AmbQinGang) August 3, 2022

Taiwan expects increased ‘psychological warfare’

Taiwan has pledged to step up security against possible disruptions by “overseas forces” including cyber attacks as tensions with China rise following Pelosi’s visit to Tapei on Wednesday.

Taiwan Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told a media briefing authorities had stepped security at key infrastructure including power plants and airports and increased the cyber security alertness level across government offices, according to a report from Reuters.

Lo said Taiwan expects to be the target in coming days of increased “psychological warfare”, which describes influence campaigns including misinformation to sway public opinion.

We are seeing psychological warfare that is stronger than ever before, and it will intensify in the coming days,” Lo said.

Taiwan officials have repeatedly warned about what they see as a Chinese campaign to weaken people’s support for the government.

Digital minister Audrey Tang said cyber attacks on Taiwan government units on Tuesday surpassed 15,000 gigabits, 23 times higher than the previous daily record.

Several government websites including the presidential office were subject to overseas cyber attacks, some of which authorities said were launched by China and Russia.

EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, has again reiterated the G7’s stance on China’s planned military exercises following Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally,” he said.

“We encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency.”

There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally.

We encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency. https://t.co/b760G8L0J4

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) August 4, 2022

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson

The president of Paraguay has offered solidarity to Taiwan. The South American nation is one of just 14 nations formally recognising Taiwan as a country.

“Paraguay expresses its solidarity with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the context of the threats it has been subjected to,” Mario Abdo Benítez said on Twitter.

“The democratic values of the Taiwanese people are an example to their region and the world, and deserve to be vindicated by the international community.”

El Paraguay expresa su apoyo solidario con la República de China (Taiwán), en el contexto de las amenazas que ha sido objeto.
Los valores democráticos del pueblo taiwanés son un ejemplo para su región y el mundo, y merecen ser reivindicados por la comunidad internacional.

— Marito Abdo (@MaritoAbdo) August 3, 2022

Condenamos el uso de la fuerza contra cualquier país, y expresamos nuestra solidaridad y firme apoyo a la soberana República de China (Taiwán), nuestro aliado diplomático de 65 años, bastión de democracia y principal mercado de la carne paraguaya.
🇵🇾 está con 🇹🇼 💪

— Vicepresidencia de la República del Paraguay (@ViceParaguay) August 3, 2022

South Korea’s President to speak by phone with Pelosi – reports

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Seoul on Wednesday night where she is scheduled to meet with South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Korea.

Earlier reports suggested South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol had no plans to meet with the senior US official as he is currently on a summer holiday.

However, Yonhap news agency is now reporting that Yoon will speak by phone with Pelosi during her visit.

Taiwan defence ministry claims cyber attacks

The Taiwan defence ministry has said its website suffered cyber attacks and went offline temporarily on Thursday, adding it is working closely with other authorities to enhance cyber security as tensions with China rise.

Earlier this week, several government websites, including the presidential office, were subject to overseas cyber attacks, some of which authorities said were launched by China and Russia.

US commitment to Taiwan democracy ‘remains ironclad’

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded her visit to Taiwan on Wednesday with a pledge that the American commitment to democracy on the self-governing island and elsewhere “remains ironclad.”

Pelosi received a euphoric welcome as the first US House speaker to visit in more than 25 years.

Before leaving, a calm but resolute Pelosi repeated previous remarks about the world facing “a choice between democracy and autocracy.”

America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad,” she said.

The Biden administration, and Pelosi, have said that the United States remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, which recognises Beijing but allows informal relations and defence ties with Taipei.

Thanking Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen presented her with a civilian honour, the Order of the Propitious Clouds.

I led a Congressional delegation to Taiwan to make crystal clear that America stands with the people of Taiwan – and all those committed to Democracy and human rights.

Check out this video of our historic visit to Taipei. pic.twitter.com/TON6zB3x4s

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 3, 2022

Here is a little more detail on the suspected drone activity above the Kinmen islands on Wednesday night.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Thursday that unidentified aircraft, probably drones, had flown on Wednesday night above the area of its Kinmen islands and that it had fired flares to drive them away.
Major General Chang Zone-sung of the Army’s Kinmen Defence Command told Reuters that the Chinese drones came in a pair and flew into the Kinmen area twice on Wednesday night, at around 9pm (1pm GMT) and 10pm.

We immediately fired flares to issue warnings and to drive them away. After that, they turned around. They came into our restricted area and that’s why we dispersed them,” he said.

We have a standard operating procedure. We will react if they come in,” Chang said, adding that the alert level there remained “normal”.

Chang said he believed the drones were intended to gather intelligence on Taiwan’s security deployment in its outlying islands.

The heavily fortified Kinmen islands are just off the southeastern coast of China, near the city of Xiamen.

Last week, Taiwan’s military fired flares to warn away a drone that “glanced” its Matsu archipelago off the coast of China’s Fujian province and was possibly probing its defences, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.

Taiwan fires flares to drive away drones near Kinmen islands

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Thursday that unidentified aircraft, probably drones, had flown on Wednesday night above the area of its Kinmen islands, which are just off the southeastern coast of China, and that it had fired flares to drive them away.

A senior military official at Taiwan’s outlying Kinmen islands added that the situation is “normal” on the islands, including it military alertness level, according to a recent Reuters report.

Relics of Kinmen’s history of warfare are scattered across the islands. Kinmen is Taiwan territory but just a few kilometres from the Chinese mainland.
Relics of Kinmen’s history of warfare are scattered across the islands. Kinmen is Taiwan territory but just a few kilometres from the Chinese mainland. Photograph: Helen Davidson/The Observer

G7 calls on China to resolve Taiwan dispute

The world’s most powerful democracies have slammed China for “increasing tensions and destabilising the region” over its response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The G7’s top diplomats on Wednesday said they were “concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China, particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation”.

The statement from the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU, read:

There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally.

The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilising the region.

It urged China not to “unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region, and to resolve cross-strait differences by peaceful means”.

They also made clear there was “no change in the respective one-China policies, where applicable, and basic positions on Taiwan of the G7 members”.

[We] encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency, and maintain open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding.”

South Korean President won’t be meeting Pelosi in Seoul, on holiday

Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile visit to Taiwan, the senior US official arrived in Seoul on Wednesday night as part of her Asian tour.

The congresswoman, who is second in line to the US presidency, will on Thursday meet South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Korea.

However, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has no plans to meet Pelosi as he is currently on a summer holiday, an official at the presidential office told SCMP.

The official denied earlier press reports that Yoon, who is taking a break at his home in Seoul, may head out to receive Pelosi.

In the first place, there was no such a plan (for Yoon’s meeting with Pelosi) as the president’s vacation schedule coincides with her visit here.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will not be meeting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he is currently on a summer holiday.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will not be meeting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he is currently on a summer holiday. Photograph: Presidential Office Handout/EPA

The presidential office “welcomes” Pelosi’s visit to South Korea and it hopes her talks with National Assembly Speaker Kim will be productive, the official said.

Asked about Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, she said: “Our government’s stance is that we will maintain close communication with the nations concerned on all issues under the banner of the need for peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation.”

Speculation mounted on social media.

“Because of vacation? No way. Yoon is not meeting Pelosi as he is nunchi-ing around China,” one post read. Had this happened to Yoon’s predecessor – liberal former president Moon Jae-in – conservatives and news media would have “raised hell with it” and accused Moon of nunchi-ing around Beijing, the post added.

China claiming Taiwan’s territory a ‘historical inevitability’, former ambassador to UK says

The former Chinese ambassador to the UK issued a scathing statement overnight, warning the US to stop obstructing China’s “great cause of reunification” and describing the process as a “historical inevitability”.

Liu Xiao Ming said:

The United States should not fantasise about obstructing China’s great cause of reunification. Taiwan is part of China.

Realising complete national reunification is the general trend and a historical inevitability. We will never leave any space for ‘Taiwan independence’ split and interference from external forces.

No matter what way the US supports and condones ‘Taiwan independence’, it will ultimately be a sham, and it will only leave more ugly records of the US grossly interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in history.

The Taiwan issue was born out of the country’s weakness and chaos, and it will surely end with the rejuvenation of the nation in the future.”

美国不要幻想阻挠中国的统一大业。台湾是中国的一部分。实现国家完全统一是大势所趋,是历史必然。我们绝不会为“台独”分裂和外部势力干涉留下任何空间。美方不论以什么方式支持纵容“台独”,最终都将是竹篮打水一场空,只会在历史上留下更多美国粗暴干涉别国内政的丑陋记录。

— 刘晓明Liu Xiaoming (@AmbLiuXiaoMing) August 3, 2022

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of tensions between China and Taiwan.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments.

It is approaching 7am in Beijing. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • China is to begin a series of unprecedented live-fire drills that would effectively blockade the island of Taiwan, just hours after the departure of US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, whose controversial visit this week has sparked fears of a crisis in the Taiwan strait.
  • Taiwan has characterised the drills as a violation of international law. The drills will last until Sunday afternoon – and will include missile tests and other “military operations” as close as nine miles to Taiwan’s coastline.
  • Ahead of the drill, Taiwan said 27 Chinese warplanes had entered its air defence zone.
  • Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday night under intense global scrutiny, and was met by the foreign minister Joseph Wu and the US representative in Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk.
  • Pelosi addressed Taiwan’s parliament on Wednesday before having public and private meetings with the president, Tsai Ing-wen. “Our delegation came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon Taiwan, and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” she said, adding that US solidarity with Taiwan was “crucial” in facing an increasingly authoritarian China.
  • In a later statement, she said China could not prevent world leaders from travelling to Taiwan “to pay respect to its flourishing democracy”.
  • Pelosi’s trip generated condemnation from Beijing and sparked fears of a new Taiwan strait crisis.
  • China vowed “consequences” and announced military exercises in waters around the island on Thursday to show its dissatisfaction.
  • Taiwan’s defence ministry accused Beijing of planning to violate the international convention on the law of sea, by breaching Taiwan’s sovereign territory.
  • Taiwanese authorities have said the proximity to some major ports combined with orders for all aircraft and sea vessels to steer clear of the area amount to a blockade.
  • While China’s military often holds live-fire exercises in the strait and surrounding seas, those planned for this week encircle Taiwan’s main island and target areas within its territorial sea.

China to conduct a series of live-fire military drills in waters surrounding Taiwan
China to conduct a series of live-fire military drills in waters surrounding Taiwan





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