#AceNewsReport – Sept.16: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has made modernising the armed forces — well-armed but dwarfed by China’s — and increasing defence spending a priority, especially as Beijing ramps up its military and diplomatic pressure against the island it claims as “sacred” Chinese territory.
The new money, which comes on top of planned military spending of T$471.7 billion for 2022, will need to be approved by the Parliament, which is likely as Mr Tsai’s ruling party has a large majority.
“The Chinese communists have continued to invest heavily in national defence budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace,” Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement after a weekly Cabinet meeting.
“In the face of severe threats from the enemy, the nation’s military is actively engaged in military building and preparation work, and it is urgent to obtain mature and rapid mass-production weapons and equipment in a short period of time.”
Deputy Defence Minister Wang Shin-lung said the new arms would all be made domestically, as Taiwan boosted its own production prowess. However, the United States will probably remain an important parts and technology provider.
Cruise missiles, warships to be purchased
Taiwan has been keen to demonstrate it can defend itself, especially amid questions about whether the United States would come to its aid if China attacked.
“Only if we ensure our security and show determination will the international community think well of us,” Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said.
“Others will only help us if we help ourselves.”
The weapons Taiwan aims to buy with the money include cruise missiles and warships, the ministry added.
Taiwan has been testing new, long-range missiles off its southern and eastern coasts, and while it has not given details, diplomats and experts have said they are likely to be able to hit targets far into China.
The additional cash will likely be well received in Washington, which has been pushing Taiwan to modernise its military to make it more mobile so it can become a “porcupine”, hard for China to attack.
Taiwan has already put into service a new class of highly agile stealth warships, which Taiwan refers to as “aircraft carrier killers” due to their missile complement, and is developing its own submarines.
The announcement comes as Taiwan is in the middle of its annual Han Kuang military drills.
On Thursday, Taiwan’s army simulated fending off an invasion, firing artillery out to sea from a beach on its southern coast.
A pattern of intrusions
Taiwan has complained for more than a year of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island.
Earlier this month, Taiwan scrambled its air force against renewed Chinese military activity, with its defence ministry reporting that 19 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, had flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
It has often occurred in the south-western part of its air defence zone, near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.18: The DPP authorities need to keep a sober head, and the secessionist forces should reserve the ability to wake up from their dreams. From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and the US military won’t come to help.”
#AceDailyNews says that Emboldened China Warns Taiwan: ‘The Island’s Defense Will Collapse’ and the ‘U.S. Military Won’t Come to Help’In an editorial published Monday, the CCP sent a harsh message to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the ruling party of the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan: “
This was likely true, and gave the world the spectacle of an increasingly hostile power, the People’s Republic of China, learning from America’s mistakes in Afghanistan, while the American political and military elites showed no sign of doing so. No one in Washington is being held or is going to be held accountable for the ongoing debacle in Afghanistan. Joe Biden just emerged to blame Trump and ignore the question of why, after announcing a departure date, the United States had no exit strategy in place that would ensure the safety of our personnel and weaponry. Biden clearly just wants all this to go away, and thanks to the establishment media, which follows him around like the man with the dustpan and broom who follows after the circus elephant, it probably will go away, at least from the headlines and news feature shows.
But while no one will be fired or even reprimanded for our disastrous exit from Afghanistan, much less for the insane decision to stay there for twenty years without having a clear idea of victory or any coherent endpoint in China, they’re paying very close attention and learning one of the obvious lessons of the last few days. The Global Times article features a cartoon of the American eagle with one wing on the shoulder of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, presumably offering her wise counsel while leading her to walk right into an open manhole. That sums up the article’s point succinctly. “The world has witnessed,” says Global Times, “how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul. This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the US.”
Indeed. The Chinese daily then reminds the world that “the US abandoned its allies in South Vietnam” in 1975, and asks, “Is this some kind of omen of Taiwan’s future fate?” Clearly, if the Chinese Communist Party has anything to do with it, it is indeed an omen.
CHINA: With Swarms of Ships, Beijing Tightens Its Grip on South China Sea as their ships settled in like unwanted guests who wouldn’t leave to press other countries according to NY Times
Published April 3, 2021Updated May 3, 2021
As the days passed, more appeared. They were simply fishing boats, China said, though they did not appear to be fishing. Dozens even lashed themselves together in neat rows, seeking shelter, it was claimed, from storms that never came.
Not long ago, China asserted its claims on the South China Sea by building and fortifying artificial islands in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Its strategy now is to reinforce those outposts by swarming the disputed waters with vessels, effectively defying the other countries to expel them.
The goal is to accomplish by overwhelming presence what it has been unable to do through diplomacy or international law. And to an extent, it appears to be working.
“Beijing pretty clearly thinks that if it uses enough coercion and pressure over a long enough period of time, it will squeeze the Southeast Asians out,” said Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, which tracks developments in the South China Sea. “It’s insidious.”
China’s actions reflect the country’s growing confidence under its leader, Xi Jinping. They could test the Biden administration, as well as Beijing’s neighbors in the South China Sea, who are increasingly dependent on China’s strong economy and supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The latest incident has unfolded in recent weeks around Whitsun Reef, a boomerang-shaped feature that emerges above water only at low tide. At one point in March, 220 Chinese ships were reported to be anchored around the reef, prompting protests from Vietnam and the Philippines, which both have claims there, and from the United States.
The Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, called their presence “a clear provocation.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry accused China of violating the country’s sovereignty and demanded that the ships leave.
By this past week, some had left but many remained, according to satellite photographs taken by Maxar Technologies, a company based in Colorado. Others moved to another reef only a few miles away, while a new swarm of 45 Chinese ships was spotted 100 miles northeast at another island controlled by the Philippines, Thitu, according to the satellite photos and Philippine officials.
“The Chinese ambassador has a lot of explaining to do,” Mr. Lorenzana said in a statement on Saturday.
The buildup has inflamed tensions in a region that, along with Taiwan, threatens to become another flash point in the intensifying confrontationbetween China and the United States.
Although the United States has not taken a position on disputes in the South China Sea, it has criticized China’s aggressive tactics there, including the militarization of its bases. For years, the United States has sent Navy warships on routine patrols to challenge China’s asserted right to restrict any military activity there — three times just since President Biden took office in January.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressed support for the Philippines over the presence of the Chinese vessels. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order,” he wrote on Twitter.
The buildup has highlighted the further erosion of the Philippines’ control of the disputed waters, which could become a problem for the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The country’s defense department dispatched two aircraft and one ship to Whitsun Reef to document the buildup but did not otherwise intervene. It is not known whether Vietnamese forces responded.A satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 23.Maxar TechnologiesA satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 28.Maxar Technologies
Critics say China’s disregard for the Philippine claims reflects the failure of Mr. Duterte’s efforts to cozy up to the Communist Party leadership in Beijing.
“People need to hear from the commander in chief himself, a coward to China but a bully to his own people,” said Mr. Duterte’s staunchest political opponent, Senator Leila de Lima. Mr. Duterte has not publicly addressed the matter, though his spokesman suggested that quiet efforts to defuse the situation were underway.
China has brushed off the protests. A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said that Chinese fishermen “have been fishing in the waters near the reef all along.” Officials in the Philippines and experts said there was no evidence of that.
Whitsun Reef is part of an atoll known as Union Banks, about 175 nautical miles from Palawan, a Philippine island. The Philippines, China and Vietnam each claim that the atoll lies within their country’s exclusive economic zones, but only China and Vietnam have established a regular physical presence there, giving each a secure, if not legal, advantage in asserting control.
Vietnam has occupied four islets in the atoll since the 1970s, while China has built two outposts on previously submerged reefs as part of its program, underway since 2014, to dredge up seven artificial islands. Two of the outposts — Grierson Reef, occupied by Vietnam, and Hughes Reef, occupied by China — are less than three nautical miles apart.Filipino fishermen in 2016 near Scarborough Shoal, a reef that China and the Philippines both claim.Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
An international tribunal convened under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled in 2016 that China’s expansive claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis, though it stopped short of dividing the territory among its various claimants. China has based its claims on a “nine-dash line” drawn on maps before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
A Philippine patrol first reported the large number of ships at Whitsun Reef on March 7. According to Mr. Poling, satellite photographs have shown a regular, though smaller, Chinese presence over the past year at the reef.
By March 29, 45 ships remained at Whitsun, according to a statement on Wednesday by the National Task Force-West Philippines Sea, an agency that reports to the Philippine president’s office. The task force counted 254 ships as well as four Chinese warships that day in the Spratlys, an archipelago of more than 100 islands, cays and other outcroppings between the Philippines and Vietnam.
The task force said the 254 ships were not fishing vessels, as Beijing claimed, but part of China’s maritime militia, an ostensibly civilian forcethat has become an integral instrument of China’s new maritime strategy. Many of these boats, while unarmed, are operated by reservists or others who carry out the orders of the Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army.
“They may be doing illicit activities at night and their lingering (swarming) presence may cause irreparable damage to the marine environment,” the task force’s statement said.Aboard a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane in 2018 as it observed the buildup of islands by China in the South China Sea.Adam Dean for The New York Times
The presence of so many Chinese ships is meant to intimidate. “By having them there, and spreading them out across these expanses of water around the reefs the others occupy, or around oil and gas fields or fishing grounds, you are steadily pushing the Filipinos and the Vietnamese out,” Mr. Poling said.
“If you’re a Filipino fisherman, you’re always getting harassed by these guys,” he said. “They’re always maneuvering a little too close, blowing horns at you. At some point you just give up and stop fishing there.”
Patrols and statements aside, Mr. Duterte’s government does not seem eager to confront China. His spokesman, Harry Roque, echoed the Chinese claims that the ships were merely sheltering temporarily.
“We hope the weather clears up,” he said, “and in the spirit of friendship we are hoping that their vessels will leave the area.”
The Philippines has become increasingly dependent on Chinese trade and, as it fights the pandemic, largess.
On Monday, the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Manila from China with great fanfare. As many as four million doses are scheduled to arrive by May, some of them donations. China’s ambassador, Huang Xilian, attended the vaccines’ arrival and later met with Mr. Duterte.
“China is encroaching on our maritime zone, but softening it by sending us vaccines,” said Antonio Carpio, an outspoken retired Supreme Court justice who is expert in the maritime dispute. “It’s part of their P.R. effort to soften the blow, but we should not fall for that.”
#AceNewsReport – July.02: China’s President Xi Jinping has warned that foreign powers will “get their heads bashed” if they attempt to bully or influence the country.
#AceDailyNews says President Xi Jinping tells Chinese Communist Party 100th anniversary ‘foreign power’ won’t be allowed to ‘bully’ China and they will take back Taiwan check out his speech in full below:
Much of the language in Xi’s speech today was familiar, but a few things worth noting:
1.Xi had an announcement: “China has accomplished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects” Like his anti-poverty goal, this was always going to be announced as accomplished no matter the reality on the ground, but he clearly feels the country is at a level of wealth now where declaring this to a domestic audience seems reasonable. Stating it now allows Xi and the Party to declare China has done away with its poor past, and from now on it’s wealthier and more confident.
2.The language directed at the West: “We will never allow any foreign force to bully, enslave or subjugate us. Anyone who does will find themselves in a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by 1.4 billion people.” This comment received the biggest cheer of the entire event. Nationalism is in overdrive in China, and Xi is milking it ruthlessly to shore up his own popularity. He also delivered a warning to countries like Australia that raise concerns about human rights in China: ‘We will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us’. This stuff plays well at home but it also is a sign that speaking hard truths about China will be met with even more diplomatic blowback in future.
3.One final quote: “The patriotic United Front is an important means for the Party to unite all the sons & daughters of the Chinese nation, those at home and abroad for the great rejuvenation”. This sort of comment is boilerplate, but it’s worth noting that the Party’s United Front organisation is at the heart of so much of the problems between Australia and China. It directs groups and organisations to push China’s interests abroad, often covertly, and judging from Xi’s language, the Chinese government sees no problem with that. The ‘sons and daughters’ wording also blurs the line between Chinese citizenship and ethnicity – creating a desire to instil patriotism and even loyalty among people of Chinese descent even if they’re citizens of other countries. It doesn’t bode well for any improvement in relations with the West, nor for the pressure some Chinese-Australians feel to have to declare loyalty to Australia.
Does President Xi have a successor?
Does President Xi Jinping have a successor? What is the gov structure there because I have only ever heard his name (in recent times), there have to be other people working with him, anyone notable? Maybe names/ positions of those who flanked him as he arrived today?
Here’s Bill Birtles:
“Xi does not have an obvious successor — that’s part of why Xi looms larger than any of his immediate predecessors. He’s managed to engineer a prolonged stay in power beyond the recent norm of a decade, and he’s also seemingly knocked off credible rivals or suppressed younger successors.
“He does appear to have favourites who he elevated at the last party Congress, but they’re not expected to replace him anytime soon. The seven men who share the top podium with him are a mix of Party ideologues (Wang Huning), experienced older hands (Wang Qishan) and others who have worked their way up as provincial Party bosses (Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, Han Zheng).
“What more do we know about them? Well, not much, as these blokes rarely do interviews, their public ideological positions generally follow the party line and the leadership is so secretive that you never get any gossipy leaks to domestic or foreign media about factional rivalry or tensions. It’s extraordinary how well the communist leadership guards its secrets, given the number of people involved at the top and the personal ambitions many of them must hold.
“The penalties for ‘leaking’ information must be dire. Among his top leadership group, one was rumoured to have secret family ownership or a stake in a huge Chinese conglomerate. The daughter of another one Li Zhanshu, China’s 3rd-ranked leader, owns a 15 million dollar apartment in Hong Kong, according to the New York Times.
“Worth noting too that despite all the nationalism and his feisty rhetoric about the US, Xi Jinping sent his daughter Xi Mingze to Harvard for her university studies. But that was before he rose to China’s top job. These days, I doubt any top leaders would dare send their kids to the US given the rising tension and the hyper nationalism that Xi has fostered.”
And here’s Stan Grant:
“Xi Jinping has torn up the order of succession. He has rewritten the constitution and is now president for life. This is dangerous and worries people in China. It does not mean he cannot be overthrown. There is still a ruling Politburo.
“There are still significant figures like Premier Li Keqiang. China has a history of brutal power struggle. Xi himself has used his power to silence and oust others who may have been a threat to him. He is walking a high wire: it is all or nothing for Xi.”
He delivered a defiant speech at an event marking the centenary of the ruling Communist Party on Thursday.
Mr Xi also said Beijing would not allow “sanctimonious preaching”, in remarks widely seen as directed at the US.
It comes as China faces criticism over alleged human rights abuses and its crackdown in Hong Kong.
Relations between the US and China have worsened in recent times over trade, espionage and the pandemic.
The issue of Taiwan is also a major source of tension. While democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, Beijing views the island as a breakaway province.
The US, under its own laws, is required to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself should Beijing use force to take the island back.
On Thursday Mr Xi said China maintains an “unshakeable commitment” to unification with Taiwan.
“No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Getty ImagesMilitary aircraft flew in formation to mark the 100th anniversary
The 100th anniversary celebrations on Thursday morning saw military jet fly-pasts, cannon salutes and patriotic songs played.
A carefully vetted crowd were in attendance in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, many of whom were not wearing masks.
The country has seen a media blitz in recent weeks promoting a party-approved version of China’s history.
Hong Kong is also marking its handover anniversary on the same day.
Getty ImagesPeople in the streets of Beijing waving at planes flying in formation to Tiananmen Square
What stood out in Xi’s message?
Mr Xi, who spoke for around an hour, reiterated the role of the party in modern China, saying that it has been central to the country’s growth and that attempts to separate it from the people would “fail”.
“Only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China,” he said.
He added that “we will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China”.
“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people,” he said.
Getty ImagesThe celebrations at Tiananmen Square saw massive crowds
China has repeatedly accused the US of trying to curb its growth – and these comments are also seen as a reference to Washington.
On Hong Kong and Macau – which he said both retain a “high degree of autonomy” – they should “accurately implement the principles of ‘One Country, Two Systems”.
Xi Jinping, modern China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, wore a light grey suit which appeared to be identical to the one worn by the Communist Party founder in the famous portrait that adorns one side of Tiananmen Square. Mr Xi praised his people for the “new world” he said they had created. What he was also saying was that this is a world that could not have come into being without the Party.
At one point military jets flew over the crowd in formation of the number 100; flown by pilots loyal to the Party and the people.It’s easy to forget when you live here but a key part of the Communist Party strategy has been to try to morph the Party and the machinery of government and the perception of the nation of China into one.
They attribute any success, progress, advancement – and there has been phenomenal economic advancement – to the people and the government but most of all the Party. Just to make sure the message went out loud and clear, at the end of the ceremony, the crowd sung a song called “
Without the Communist Party There Would Be No New China”.How did China prepare for this anniversary? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was founded in 1921, came to power 72 years ago after a long civil war. In that time the country has undergone massive changes – but some of these milestones were conspicuously missing in the propaganda drive. How to handle the China Communist Party at 100
On Monday, an art performance titled The Great Journey was staged at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, where performers put on extravagant set-pieces detailing the history of the party and country. But significant events such the Cultural Revolution purges, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong were missing, reported AFP news agency.Getty ImagesThe Great Journey showcased party history highlights, but some chapters were reportedly omitted.
A segment of Monday’s show was dedicated to how China beat Covid-19 since April, Chinese cinemas were ordered to screen propaganda films, known as “red films”, at least twice a week: A song, called 100%, that praised China’s achievements and featured 100 rappers was also released.”Red tourism” has also become popular, with travel companies such as Ctrip launching 100 unique routes for “red pilgrims”.
Tourists have been thronging “red tourism” sites such as the Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in ShanghaiBut not all were pleased with the propaganda. “Now when I turn on the TV at night, dozens of stations are airing dramas about revolutionary wars,” a Beijing resident told BBC Chinese.
ABC/Reuters/Additional Reporting by Waiyee Yip and BBC Chinese
#AceNewsReport – Apr.18: In response to the U.S. moves with Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters his country had lodged “stern representations” with the United States.
Daily Chinese incursions cause U.S. to expand ties with Taiwan: ‘Among Chinese military moves has been the almost daily air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defense zone’
Zhao Lijian noted that China urged the United States “not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue, immediately stop any form of U.S.-Taiwan official contacts..and not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
‘Discussed deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today’
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, and welcome. On behalf of National Security Advisor Sullivan and myself, I want to welcome Director Yang and State Councilor Wang to Alaska, and to thank you very much for making the journey to be with us.
Following the increase in hostile Chinese actions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the United States was concerned about China’s actions with Taiwan.
In a written response to Reuters on Blinken’s remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry said the government intended to protect the country’s sovereignty.
“Don’t stand on the opposite side of 1.4 billion Chinese people,” it warned the United States.
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry reported another four Chinese J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine warfare aircraft entered its defense zone.
One day earlier, Taiwan said 25 Chinese military aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered its air zone, marking the largest incursion to date.
While Washington recognizes Beijing, rather than Taipei, the United States remains Taiwan’s most important international supporter and arms seller.
Further, by law the United States is required to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has said Taiwan is an independent country and that it will defend its freedom and security.
Taiwan: Dozens killed as train crashes and derails in tunnel: ‘The eight-carriage train reportedly hit a construction vehicle that had slipped onto the tracks at the tunnel’s mouth as rescuers combed badly damaged carriages inside the tunnel to find survivors, some of whom smashed windows to flee’
2 hours ago: Watch: Rescue efforts continue as up to 200 people remain trapped after the train derailment
Reuters Pictures showed people in less affected carriages walking along train tracks with their belongings
The train, from the capital Taipei to Taitung, was carrying people travelling for a long-weekend annual holiday.
Many people may have been standing because the train was so full.
The 408 train is one of the fastest deployed on a network that is generally considered safe. It can reach speeds of 130km/h (80mph).
Friday’s crash is Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in decades. President Tsai Ing-wen has sent her condolences to the families of the victims and ordered an investigation.
Reuters said some passengers exited on to the roof to escape
The latest reports from the National Fire Agency say 494 people were on the train, with 50 dead and 66 injured and taken to hospital.
‘Sudden violent jolt’
The crash took place at about 09:00 local time (01:00 GMT).
Some people at the back of the train were able to walk away unscathed, while 100 were rescued from the first four carriages. Many of the dead, injured and trapped were in four crumpled carriages inside the tunnel.
“It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor,” one female survivor told Taiwan’s UDN. “We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out.”
Another rescued woman said: “My whole body fell to the floor. I hit my head and it started bleeding.”
A 50-year-old survivor told Apple Daily she saw many people trapped under their seats and when she walked out of her carriage she saw bodies everywhere.
Local media reports say the train driver is among the dead.
Images show a large, yellow flatbed truck lying at the side of the tracks. A construction project has been under way near the north end of the tunnel.
It is not known how the vehicle slipped down the embankment.
Survivors on stretchers
Other pictures showed people walking along the tracks with their belongings as they were evacuated from less badly affected carriages.
Other survivors were being carried away on stretchers with their necks in braces.
EPAThis image appears to show the yellow flat-bed truck at the side of the tracks
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang visited the crash site on Friday afternoon.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter: “I offer my sincere condolences to all those affected by this morning’s rail accident in Taiwan.”
Enough focus on safety?
Analysis by BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taiwan
Taiwan has an impressive transportation network, including more than 1,000km of railway tracks. The trains transport more than 200 million passengers each year.
Accidents are rare, but this latest derailment – if it was indeed caused by a construction vehicle parked on a nearby slope sliding onto the tracks – would add to a number of recent incidents that have been blamed on negligence and/or human error.
a number of deadly fires inside factories that have housed unsafe dormitories for workers
a bridge collapse in 2019 caused by lack of maintenance, which killed four migrant fishermen in a boat
a chemical explosion in 2014 caused by neglect of underground pipelines – 32 people died
This latest accident once again raises questions about whether Taiwan is placing enough importance on safety and preventing accidents.
Many of those on the train are believed to have been travelling to celebrate the Tomb Sweeping festival – a time when people pay their respects to the dead by visiting the graves of family members, sprucing them up and making offerings to their spirits.
The island’s worst crash in recent history was in 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.25: Taiwan’s armed forces, dwarfed by China’s, are in the midst of a modernisation program to offer a more effective deterrent, including the ability to hit back at bases deep within China in the event of a conflict:
‘Taiwan begins mass production of long-range missile amid China tensions which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory — has stepped up military activity near the island as it tries to force the government in Taipei to accept Beijing’s claims of sovereignty’
Posted 3h ago
Taking questions in Parliament, Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said developing a long-range attack capability was a priority.
“We hope it is long-range, accurate, and mobile,” he said, adding research on such weapons by the state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology had “never stopped”.
Standing next to Mr Chiu, the institute’s deputy director, Leng Chin-hsu, said one long-range, land-based missile had already entered production, with three other long-range missiles in development.
Mr Leng said it was “not convenient” for him to provide details on how far the missile could fly.
The institute — which is leading Taiwan’s weapon development efforts — has in recent months carried out a series of missile tests off its south-eastern coast.
Media in Taiwan have carried images of missiles launching and instructions have been given to aircraft to stay clear of the test area, but the tests have otherwise been shrouded in secrecy.
Taiwan’s armed forces have traditionally concentrated on defending the island from a Chinese attack.
But President Tsai Ing-wen has stressed the importance of developing an “asymmetrical” deterrent, using mobile equipment that is hard to find and destroy, and capable of hitting targets far from Taiwan’s coast.
Washington — Taipei’s main foreign arms supplier — has been eager to create a military counterbalance to Chinese forces, building on an effort known within the Pentagon as “Fortress Taiwan”.
#AceWorldNews – September 10 – Taiwan and China resumed talks Wednesday at an undisclosed location on a goods free trade agreement, sparking a protest against secrecy by demonstrators suspicious of closer ties with Beijing AFP reported.
Economic affairs minister Woody Duh told reporters before the talks opened in the afternoon that Taiwan would focus on flat panels, petrochemicals, machine tools and auto-mobiles where its industries are competitive.
But his ministry has declined to say where the three-day talks are being held, prompting suspicions from the political opposition and activists opposed to the pact.
“Why are the talks being held when the Legislative Yuan (parliament) is in recess? This is a procedure… intended to skip parliamentary supervision,” activist Chen Wei-ting told reporters as dozens of slogan-chanting demonstrators rallied at the ministry.
“The economics ministry would not even reveal the venue of the talks,” Chen added.
The talks had been delayed about five months following a series of major protests led by Chen and other student leaders against parliament’s earlier approval of a services trade agreement with the mainland.
That pact provoked an unprecedented occupation of Taiwan’s parliament and mass street protests in March and April.
“We are aware of a threat message with reference to our flights from mainland China to Hong Kong as shared by the Taiwan authorities,” a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific and its unit Dragonair said. Flight operations at the Hong Kong Airport were running as normal Friday, authorities said.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority and two airlines said on Friday they had received a warning from Taiwan authorities regarding a possible bomb aboard a Cathay Pacific or Dragonair flight arriving from mainland China in the next two days.
The warning comes amid heightened security concerns in China following suicide bombings and stabbings that have been blamed on Uighur separatists and after authorities in the restive region of Xinjiang region sentenced nine people to death on Thursday for “violent terrorism”.
It also comes just two days after more than 180,000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters 25 years ago in Beijing’sTiananmen Square.
“We are aware of a threat message with reference to our flights from mainland China to Hong Kong as shared by the Taiwan authorities,” a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific and its unit Dragonair said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“We will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities and have reminded our frontline teams to remain vigilant as usual.”
The Hong Kong Airport authority said flight operations at the airport were normal on Friday.
Spokespeople for the Hong Kong Airport Authority, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration and budget carrier HK Express confirmed the warning and said they were taking steps to maintain the safety of their passengers.
The Hong Kong bomb warning involves a woman who may be planning to board a Dragonair or Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong on Friday or Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a Taiwanese airport police source and intelligence from Taiwan’s National Security Bureau.
The 1989 ‘counter-revolutionary’ demonstrations on Tiananmen Square, which spread to other cities, have never been publicly marked in mainland China.
Every year, there are commemorations in Hong Kong and in self-ruled Taiwan.
Several governments including the United States urged China to account for what happened on June 4, 1989, comments that riled China, which has said the protest movement was “counter-revolutionary”. Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama used the anniversary to call on China to embrace democracy.
China has never released a death toll for the crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.
Troops shot their way into central Beijing after demonstrators had clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing for about six weeks.
There were also protests in many other cities.
Taking no chances on Wednesday, police, soldiers and plain-clothes security personnel enveloped Tiananmen Square, checking identity cards and rummaging through bags looking for any hint that people might try to sneak onto the square to commemorate the day.
Police escorted a Reuters reporter off the square, which was thronged with tourists, saying it was closed to foreign media. Police also detained another Reuters journalist for trying to report on the anniversary in one of Beijing’s university districts, releasing him after a few hours.
Public discussion of the crackdown is off-limits in China. Many young people are unaware of what happened because of years of government efforts to banish memories of the People’s Liberation Army shooting its own citizens.
“They have covered up history. They don’t want people to know the truth of what they did,” veteran activist Hu Jia told Reuters from his home in Beijing, where he said police were present to prevent him from leaving.
A policeman stands guard with a shotgun in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing June 4, 2014. REUTER …
“Nobody would have confidence in them if they knew what they did… They should have fallen because of what they did,” he added, speaking by mobile telephone.
#AceWorldNews – TOKYO – May 19 – Japan will establish new military outposts on remote islands as the country looks to bolster its defence amid a territorial dispute with China, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Monday.
Up to 350 troops each could be stationed on three islands in the far south-west, close to the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as its own under the name Diaoyus.
With the exception of the main Okinawa Island, Japan’s army has no bases on the chain of islands that runs from the bottom of Kyushu to Taiwan, AFP said.
#AceWorldNews – TAIWAN – May 15 – A top Taiwanese diplomat says rioters attacked a Taiwanese-owned steel mill in central Vietnam, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90 others.
According to AP, Ambassador to Vietnam Huang Chih-peng said the violence late Wednesday and early Thursday happened at a steel plant owned by Formosa Plastics Group.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that five Vietnamese workers and 16 other individuals described as Chinese died Wednesday night during riots in the central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh, according to a doctor at a hospital in the province.
Early Wednesday, rioters attacked factory buildings in a southern industrial park which were believed to have Chinese owners but were, in fact, mostly owned by Taiwanese or South Koreans. China’s deployment of an oil rig in the South China Sea earlier this month has sparked public anger in Vietnam, as the nation claims the waters as its own.
If confirmed, the airstrip would be the first built by China on any of the eight reefs and islands it occupies in the Spratly Islands and would mark a significant escalation in tensions involving several nations in the area.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, an area rich in energy deposits and an important passageway traversed each year by $5 trillion worth of ship-borne goods.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the area.
Philippine Foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose told Reuters that China had moved earth and materials to Johnson South Reef, known by the Chinese as Chigua, in recent weeks. He said China was reclaiming land in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an informal code of conduct for the region.
“They’re about to build an airstrip,” Jose said.
Tensions in the South China Sea were already high after China moved a large oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. Beijing and Hanoi each accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands.
#AceWorldNews – MANILA/BEIJING – May 07 (Reuters) – Philippines police seized a Chinese fishing boat in the disputed South China Sea on Wednesday, an official told Reuters, the latest flare-up of tensions in the oil and gas-rich waters that are claimed wholly or in part by six Asian nations.
Chief Superintendent Niel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal.
The boat has 11 crew and police found about 500 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, he said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 40 turtles on board.
Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.
Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.
The incident is bound to raise the ire of Beijing, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Ace Related News:
1. Reuters – May 07 – http://tinyurl.com/lg23c84
#AceWorldNews – TAIPEI – April 28 – Taiwan police on Monday used water cannon to disperse hundreds of overnight sit-in demonstrators, demanding the scrapping of a nearly completed nuclear power plant, AFP reported.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators blockaded one of the busiest streets in the capital Sunday, forcing the ruling Kuomintang party to yield and halt construction work at the plant as the issue has gripped the island for 30 years.
The concession by the government led to a large number of demonstrators leaving the area in Taipei, but hundreds remained.
A Kuomintang spokesman said Sunday that reactor one would be sealed for storage, and construction of reactor two would be terminated.
#AceWorldNews – April 18 – TOKYO – Japan is sending 100 soldiers and radar to its westernmost outpost, a tropical island off Taiwan, Reuters said.
The deployment could risk angering China amid a dispute over nearby islands that both countries claim. Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera will break ground on Saturday for a military lookout station on Yonaguni.
The island is home to 1,500 people and just 150km from the disputed Japanese-held islands claimed by China. Yonaguni is now defended by two police officers, and the move is part of a plan to improve defence and surveillance in Japan’s far-flung frontier.
#AceWorldNews – BEIJING – April 15 – China lodged a protest with the United States on Tuesday over a visit by Gina McCarthy, Washington’s environmental protection chief, to self-ruled Taiwan this week.
Her visit is the first by a cabinet level official since 2000, according to Taiwan’s presidential office, Reuters reports.
McCarthy was visiting to support environmental cooperation between the United States and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.