France yesterday launched the privatization of telecommunications operator France Telecom, with Economy and Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announcing the sale of 9.6 percent of its shares. \nThe state is to retain 41.0 to 43.5 percent of the capital and plans to remain a major shareholder in the medium term, a finance ministry statement said. \nFrance Telecom is a flagship industrial name in France and anything affecting its corporate status or the employment prospects of staff has provoked opposition from trade unions in the past. \nThe decision means that France Telecom will gain a more flexible capital structure and a larger investment base and that the government will earn funds needed to reduce its public debt. \nIssued shortly before the company's board was to meet the statement said: "The state has today started the sale of 9.6 percent of the capital of France Telecom. When this sale is completed, depending on the number of shares that have been bought, the state will hold directly or indirectly between 41.0 and 43.5 percent of France Telecom's capital." \nIt added: "The state is determined to remain a major shareholder of France Telecom in the medium term." \nThe money raised will help France trim its public debt, which has repeatedly breached EU limits. \nThe government's stake sale is worth 4.6 billion to 5.8 billion euros (US$5.6 billion to US$7 billion) based on Tuesday's closing price, depending on the exact number of shares sold. \nFrance Telecom, meanwhile, "needs to increase its room for manoeuvre in order to adapt to future developments in the telecommunications market," the ministry said. \nBy effectively privatizing the telecoms operator, the state plans to provide France Telecom with a more flexible capital structure and a larger investor base. \nThe government said France Telecom's stable financial situation and recent buyout of Orange and Wanadoo, its mobile and Internet access units, means the operator can now take full advantage of developments in the telecoms market. \nShares will subsequently be offered to existing and former France Telecom employees.
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,