President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned China against altering the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait after a pair of Chinese jets crossed the median line of the Strait on Sunday morning.
“China’s move is not only a unilateral change in the cross-strait status quo, it is also a provocation to peace in the region,” Tsai said in a speech at a military promotion ceremony.
In the face of a fast-changing international climate and multiple challenges to national security, the military will assume a much more important role in maintaining regional peace, safeguarding sovereignty and upholding people’s well-being, as well as the values of democracy and freedom, Tsai said.
Photo: Presidential Office via AP
“The military is firmly determined to defend the nation’s democracy, sovereignty and security,” she said. “We will never give even an inch of territory.”
The air force on Sunday scrambled five fighter jets to intercept two Chinese J-11 planes that crossed the median line of the Strait at about 11am.
It is understood that the Chinese military aircraft were 185km from Taiwan proper when they finally heeded the interceptors’ warnings and turned around.
According to a source at the Presidential Office, Tsai yesterday convened a meeting with National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維) and Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), who briefed her on the military response to the incident.
Tsai was quoted as demanding during the meeting that “the Taiwanese military must always respond immediately to incursions by Chinese military jets across the median line of the Strait.”
Condemning China’s “intentional, reckless and provocative action,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee that Taiwan had informed its regional partners of the incursion the same day.
Wu declined to disclose which regional partners had been informed.
Although none of those partners have so far commented officially on the incident, many indicated disapproval of Beijing’s behavior, Wu said, adding that it was the first time in recent years that People’s Liberation Army Air Force jets had crossed the median line.
Asked to comment on the incident, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said that Beijing’s efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo “are harmful and do not contribute to regional stability.”
“Rather, they undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability and development for decades,” AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour said, while reiterating Washington’s position that Beijing should stop its coercive efforts and resume dialogue with Taipei.
“Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, of grave concern to the United States,” she said.
She added that to the US “Taiwan is a reliable partner, a democratic role model and a force for good in the world.”
“The United States urges China to abstain from coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan,” she said.
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth
TAROKO INCIDENT: The committee would regulate how public donations for victims of Friday’s train accident, which have exceeded NT$60 million, would be used The government has collected about NT$60 million (US$2.1 million) in donations through Line Pay and convenience stores for victims of last week’s fatal train accident and plans to establish an oversight committee to determine how the funds should be used to help them, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The accident occurred at 9:28am on Friday, when a southbound Taroko Express train traveling from New Taipei City to Taitung hit a crane truck that had slid down a hill from a nearby construction site onto the rails as the train was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel