A panel of defense experts on Thursday called for an Indo-Pacific initiative to combat disinformation, including efforts directed by Beijing.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue, a virtual conference hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lieutenant General Liu Te-chin (劉得金) said that disinformation is in China’s arsenal of “fourth-generation warfare” tools to use against Taiwan.
Fourth-generation warfare — a term used by US defense analysts in the 1980s — describes methods of conflict that blur the lines between war and politics.
China’s application of the idea includes demoralizing propaganda, Web-based disinformation, confrontations at sea and in the air, and manufactured disputes, said Liu, who is inspector-general of the Ministry of National Defense.
Steadily escalating “gray zone” conflict is aimed at diminishing trust in Taiwan’s government, he said.
Taiwan has improved its multiagency coordination, civil-military cooperation, information verification and partnerships with foreign states, he said.
The military has prepared mechanisms for rapid response and strategic communication, he added.
Taiwan has unique insight into China’s disinformation techniques that other countries lack, said Bonny Lin, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Malicious influence campaigns are being directed against countries around the world, and governments could benefit from Taiwan’s wisdom and experience, Lin said.
The international community must join forces to honestly discuss the problem of disinformation and educate people to counter its effects, she said.
The fast-growing economies and fragile democracies of the Indo-Pacific region are vulnerable to online foreign meddling, said Jacob Wallis, head of information operations and disinformation at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Countries in the region should create a forum or platform to defend their societies against targeted disinformation campaigns, Wallis said.
Such a forum should be open to experts working in academia and the private sector, not just government officials, he said, adding that it is needed to make governments more agile in their response to threats.
In related news, a military source yesterday said that two Chinese People’s Liberation Army vessels were identified off Taiwan’s east coast over the past two days.
A Chinese missile frigate was spotted 40 nautical miles (74km) off Hualien County at about 3am on Thursday, presumably heading south into the Bashi Channel, the source said.
Another frigate was detected about 24 hours later about 116 nautical miles off Green Island (綠島), the source added.
The second frigate sailed out of radar range at about noon yesterday, the source said, without saying which direction it was headed.
It was unclear why the ships were navigating so close to Taiwan, the source added.
Patrol ships from the 131st Fleet in Keelung were deployed on both occasions to monitor the frigates, the source said.
Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Shih Shun-wen (史順文) declined to comment on the report, saying only that the military constantly monitors military activities near Taiwan.
Additional reporting by CNA
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the