China has blasted as "groundless and irresponsible" a UN report that recent bird flu outbreaks in Thailand and Laos were caused by a virus strain originating in China, state media said yesterday.
"This is groundless and irresponsible," the agriculture ministry said, according to a report on the People's Daily Web site.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday that outbreaks in the Thai province of Nakhon Phanom and near the Laotian capital Vientiane were caused by a strain that originated in China and had not been seen in that region before.
The ministry said the country has not exported any poultry products to Thailand or Laos since 2004 when China first reported a H5N1 outbreak in its poultry.
"Nakhon Phanom ... and ...Vientiane, where the virus strain was detected, are both very far from the Chinese border," the ministry said.
It emphasized that as the prevention and control abilities of different countries varied, most reports were inconclusive and could not safely be used to detect new trends. Also complicating the case is the fact that the virus can be transmitted by wild birds, the ministry said.
"So it is irresponsible to decide that the strain of virus detected in Thailand was from a certain country before having sufficient evidence," the ministry said.
STRENGTHENING: The defense budget this year is to focus on replenishment of artillery and rocket stocks, and equipment for F-16 jets, the defense ministry said Defense spending this year is to focus on preparing weapons and equipment for a “total blockade” by China, including parts for F-16 jets and replenishing weapons, the military said in a report. China staged war games around the nation in August last year, firing missiles over Taipei and declaring no-fly and no-sail zones in a simulation of how it would seek to cut Taiwan off in a war. In a report seeking legislative budget approval, the Ministry of National Defense said it began reviewing its strategic fuel reserves and repair abilities last year, but did not give details. In “anticipation of a total
ANTI-SHIP CONFIGURATION: The Tuo Chiang-class vessels are to be built for NT$9.7 billion by Lung Teh, a shipyard that previously built four similar corvettes for the navy The Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday awarded Lung Teh Shipbuilding (龍德造船) a NT$9.7 billion Co (US$317.57 million) contract to build five Tuo Chiang-class corvettes with anti-ship capabilities, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The corvettes would carry vertical launchers for four Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) missiles, as well as eight Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) anti-ship missiles, in contrast to ships configured for anti-air warfare, which carry eight HF-2 and four HF-3 missiles, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The anti-ship corvettes would be armed for improved standoff range against surface combatants and carry the latest
NINE TYPES: One of the devices can be carried by a single soldier and can destroy high-value, high-risk vehicles as well as target personnel, an official said Taiwan’s top military research body yesterday unveiled nine domestically developed drones in Taichung, including a loitering munition, or “suicide drone,” similar to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300. The surveillance and attack drones shown to the media by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology included the Albatross medium-range uncrewed aerial vehicle Nos. 1 and 2, and the Teng Yun 2 and Cardinal 2 and 3 indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicles. The institute also unveiled a domestically made drone inspired by the AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which Ukrainian forces have employed in the country’s war with Russia. Aeronautical Systems Research Division head Chi Li-pin (齊立平)
PARTIAL SUPPORT: Morris Chang said he agrees with the US’ goal to slow advances of China’s chip sector, but US policies that might boost chip prices perplex him Washington’s efforts to on-shore semiconductor production might lead to surges in chip prices and supply bottlenecks, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) said yesterday. The 91-year-old industry veteran said he supports parts of Washington’s effort to slow China’s progress on advanced chip manufacturing. China is still six years behind Taiwan in making advanced chips, despite years-long efforts to catch up, Chang told a Commonwealth Magazine forum that he coheadlined with Tufts University assistant professor Chris Miller, an expert on the US-China rivalry’s effects on chip manufacturing. However, Chang said that other parts of the effort, particularly Washington’s on-shoring