Iran interrogated eight British sailors but their prosecution for straying into Iranian waters was not discussed, a foreign ministry source said yesterday, as the border incident grew into a serious diplomatic spat. \nIranian state television showed video footage of the group of Royal Navy personnel in blindfolds in a cramped room yesterday and quoted a military source as saying the group would be put on trial "for illegally entering Iranian territorial waters." \nThe British government summoned Iran's ambassador to London yesterday and called for the men's release. \nAdding to British frustrations, Iran also appeared to be denying British diplomats immediate access to the team -- arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Monday along the Shatt al-Arab waterway that demarcates the southern border between Iran and Iraq. \n"We are still trying to get access," a spokesman at the embassy, Andrew Dunn, told reporters. "We do not know where they are being held." \n"The ambassador was asked why the eight are being held, for their release as soon possible and for full consular access to them meanwhile," a British Foreign Office spokesman said. \nIranian Revolutionary Guards arrested the Britons on Monday on the Shatt al-Arab waterway which marks the southern stretch of Iraq's border with Iran. \nBritain said the group were training Iraqi police and were on a routine mission delivering a boat to an Iraqi river patrol. \n"Interrogations to find out the reason those people entered Iran's waters are going on, and no other issue is under discussion now," the Iranian ministry source said, contradicting a state television report that the men would be prosecuted. \nThe sailors could be released soon if investigations show their incursion was not ill-intended, a senior Iranian military official was quoted as saying yesterday. \n"If the result of the interrogations of those British military men shows that they didn't have any bad intention, they will be released soon," Ali Reza Afshar, deputy head of the armed forces chief of staff, told the ISNA students news agency. \nBut earlier yesterday an unnamed Revolutionary Guards official told the semi-official Fars news agency the Britons were carrying sophisticated maps and arms and said they would be tried. \nHe said the eight had confessed to "deliberately" entering Iran's territorial waters. \n"They were fully armed. Besides their personal arms, they were equipped with advanced rifles, night vision systems and other type of equipment," the official said. \nBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said: "We want to resolve this situation as quickly as possible ... We have asked for full details and access to them." \nPolitical analysts said that while Iran's reform-minded government may be keen to solve the issue quickly through diplomatic channels, hardline bodies such as the Revolutionary Guards may want to take a tougher line. \n"The government policy is one of tolerance, but some groups are pursuing an isolated stance," said a senior Iranian political source. \nAli Ansari, Middle East expert at University of Exeter, pointed out that Britain, unlike the US, has tried to engage with Iran's leaders in recent years. \n"I think there'll be a couple of high-level contacts ... There'll be a bit of diplomatic toing-and-froing, then they'll be released ... in a matter of days," he said. \nIran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has told British counterpart Jack Straw he would personally look into the matter. \nBritain's Defense Ministry said the Britons had been delivering a small craft to the Iraqi Riverine Patrol Service. The boats carried only the sailors' personal weapons, it said. \nA British military source acknowledged the British boats may have strayed into Iranian waters. \n"It was quite a confused situation. The weather was appalling and this happened in a confined stretch of water," he said.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
Two Japanese virtual YouTubers (VTubers) were suspended by their employers on Sunday after mentioning Taiwan and showing the national flag during a livestream, stoking controversy that was inflamed further when it was discovered that their management company issued distinct apologies in Japanese and Mandarin. While reading YouTube analytics over livestream on Thursday and Friday last week, Hololive VTubers Kiryu Coco and Akai Haato named Taiwan as contributing a high percentage of viewers. Users on the Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili were quick to criticize the two and report their accounts, prompting Hololive’s parent company, Cover Corp, to suspend the streamers for three
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a