The visiting chief of staff of Russia's army is denying reports that planned Russian-Chinese military exercises are meant as practice for a Chinese attack on Taiwan, saying the activity isn't directed at any third country, according to Chinese and Russian news reports.
General Yuri Baluyevsky said yesterday that the planned exercise is meant to build strategic ties between the former Cold War rivals. He made the comments during meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders.
Baluyevsky dismissed as "pure fiction" reports by Russian media that the excercises were a rehearsal for an invasion of Taiwan, the self-ruled nation that the communist Beijing government claims as its territory.
Baluyevsky said the exercises are not "against any third country," China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. Beijing and Moscow announced plans in December for their first joint military exercises, adding to a growing alliance between the former Cold War rivals.
"It is a new way of cooperation between the two militaries, aimed at improving the training capabilities of the two militaries and boosting their cooperation," Xinhua quoted Baluyevsky.
The Russian general arrived in Beijing amid tensions over the new Chinese "Anti-Secession" Law that authorizes an attack if Taiwan pursues formal independence.
Baluyevsky said they would be held in the autumn and would involve both ground and naval forces, according to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass. That indicated they would take place on China's coast, rather than the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang or some other inland region, as Russian news reports have suggested.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported this week that China had proposed holding the exercises in Zhejiang, a coastal province near Taiwan. It said Russia was pushing for Xinjiang, due to its proximity to Central Asia, where both governments are worried about potential Islamic terrorism.
"Beijing is trying to use Russia as an additional lever of pressure on the disobedient island," the newspaper said.
The exercises will involve Il-76 transport planes with paratroopers, Tu-95MS bombers firing cruise missiles at targets in the sea and Su-27SM fighter jets simulating coverage of ground forces, according to Russian media reports.
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: