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China and Taiwan

October 10, 2023 | 12:31pm
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China and Taiwan
October 10, 2023

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says on Tuesday that democracy had thrived on the island despite increased Chinese pressure, and vows that its people would remain "free for generations".

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, and has in recent years stepped up military and political pressure against Tsai's administration.

Taiwan sees near-daily Chinese warplanes incursions around the island, while on the international stage, Beijing has poached its diplomatic allies in a bid to isolate it. — AFP

September 22, 2023

China warns at the United Nations not to underestimate its "strong will" on Taiwan, while saying Beijing preferred peaceful means to take the self-governing democracy.

Addressing the General Assembly, Vice President Han Zheng repeated Beijing's stance that Taiwan -- around which the communist mainland has staged repeated military exercises -- constitutes an "inalienable part" of China.

"No one should ever underestimate the firm resolve, strong will and the power of the Chinese people to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity," he says. — AFP

September 19, 2023

Taiwan's defense ministry says dozens of Chinese warplanes were detected around Taiwan in a day, as it called on Beijing to stop its "provocative actions".

The latest sorties came a day after China flew 103 warplanes in the 24-hour window from Sunday to Monday morning around Taiwan, which the island's authorities said was a "recent high" number.

On Tuesday, the ministry says China flew 55 aircraft and sailed seven naval vessels around the island from Monday to Tuesday morning. — AFP

September 17, 2023

Taipei authorities say China flew 28 warplanes around Taiwan on Sunday, with most crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait for unspecified "long range" missions.

Taiwan's defense ministry said 20 of the aircraft detected since Sunday morning crossed the median line of the waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China, and entered the self-ruled island's southeast and southwest air defense identification zone.

China was conducting "missions such as long range exercises and training", the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that it was monitoring the situation with patrol aircraft and ships. — AFP

September 14, 2023

Dozens of Chinese warplanes and 10 navy ships were detected around Taiwan, authorities in Taipei say Thursday after warning that Beijing was conducting air and sea drills in the Western Pacific.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and relations have soured since the island's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.

Beijing has in recent years ratcheted up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan and the number of warplane flights around the island increased dramatically following last August's visit by Nancy Pelosi, then-speaker of the US House of Representatives. --- AFP

August 31, 2023

China warns Thursday that US military aid to Taiwan harmed the island's "security", after Washington approved direct military assistance to Taipei under a programme aimed at foreign governments for the first time.

"US military aid and sales to Taiwan only nourish the US military-industrial complex while harming the security and well-being of Taiwan compatriots," Wu Qian, a spokesperson for Beijing's defence ministry, tells a briefing. — AFP

August 29, 2023

Taiwan urges China on Tuesday to stop "military harassment" that risked damaging regional security after it said 24 Chinese warplanes were detected near the island.

China has ratcheted up military and political pressure on self-ruled Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016 because she rejects Beijing's stance that the island is part of Chinese territory.

"The People's Liberation Army's continuous military harassment in the region could lead to a sharp escalation of tensions and worsening of regional security," Taiwan's Defense Ministry says in a statement. — AFP

August 25, 2023

Taiwan's vice president and presidential frontrunner vow on Friday "unwavering" support for the cross-strait status quo, as Taipei faces increasing assertiveness from China which has long claimed the island as its territory.

China and self-ruled Taiwan share an uneasy relationship, in which Beijing has vowed to one day take the island -- by force if necessary -- while Taipei treads a diplomacy tightrope of not formally declaring independence.

But it has faced ramped-up political and military pressures from China in recent years -- particularly since the 2016 election of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to accept Beijing's claim over the island. — AFP 

August 20, 2023

China held air and sea drills around Taiwan on Saturday, in what it said was a "stern warning" after the island's vice president visited the United States. 

William Lai -- the frontrunner in Taiwan's presidential election next year and a vocal opponent of Beijing's claims to the island -- stopped in New York and San Francisco on Friday while returning from a trip to Paraguay. 

China has reacted angrily, on Saturday reiterating that Lai was a "troublemaker" and vowing to take "resolute measures... to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity". — AFP

August 19, 2023

Taiwan says Saturday it had detected 42 warplane incursions into its air defense zone since China announced the launch of military drills. 

"Since 0900 (UTC+8) today (Aug. 19), the R.O.C. Armed Forces detected 42 PLA aircraft," the island's ministry of defense says in a statement. 

Twenty-six of the warplanes involved crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the ministry says. — AFP  

August 19, 2023

Taiwan strongly condemns on Saturday Chinese military drills launched following a stopover in the United States made by the island's vice president.

"The Ministry of National Defence strongly condemns such irrational and provocative behavior, and will dispatch appropriate forces to respond ... to defend freedom, democracy, and the sovereignty of" Taiwan, the defense ministry says in a statement. — AFP

August 13, 2023

China on Sunday has vowed "resolute and forceful measures" over a weekend trip by Taiwan Vice President William Lai to the United States it said it was closely monitoring.

Lai -- the frontrunner in Taiwan's presidential elections next year -- is officially making only transit stops in the United States en route to and from Paraguay, where he will attend the inauguration of president-elect Santiago Pena. 

Taiwan is claimed by China, which has vowed to take the island democracy one day -- by force, if necessary -- and ramped up political and military pressure.

"China is closely following the development of the situation and will take resolute and forceful measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," an unnamed spokesperson for the foreign ministry says in a statement published online.

July 27, 2023

Taiwanese troops on Thursday thwarts a mock Chinese beach landing, the latest exercise in the island's week-long annual military drills simulating attacks by Beijing.

China, which regards self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, has intensified its sabre-rattling in recent years, orchestrating near-daily incursions of warplanes and naval vessels around the island. 

Taiwan's five-day "Han Kuang" (Han Glory) wargames this year have included drills in varying settings -- including Taipei's main train station and its biggest international airport -- and on different terrains. — AFP

July 24, 2023

Taiwan holds air raid drills simulating its response to Chinese missile attacks in several cities on Monday, the same day the island's military kicked off its annual war games.

Self-ruled Taiwan holds frequent defence drills in the face of increasing military and political pressures from China, which regards the island as its territory.

Preparation efforts also extend to its civilian population, with authorities stepping up drills in cities, citing lessons learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine where the street-to-street warfare appears to be part of the defence strategy playbook. — AFP

July 15, 2023

Paraguay's formal ties with Taiwan make "more sense" than recognizing China, and will be a greater boost to development in the South American nation, president-elect Santiago Pena says Saturday.

Paraguay is the last remaining South American nation to recognise Taiwan over Beijing, which claims the island as its territory and has spent decades convincing Taipei's allies to switch.

Pena, who won the election in May and will be inaugurated next month, has been in Taiwan since Tuesday and his schedule has been packed with meetings and stops, including at a bubble tea shop with the island's President Tsai Ing-wen. — AFP

July 3, 2023

Taiwan will kick off a two-day missile live-firing test on Monday ahead of its largest annual military exercises as the island ramps up preparations against an increasingly assertive China.

The 23 million Taiwanese people live under constant threat of invasion by Beijing, which views the self-ruled democracy as part of its territory to be seized one day.

The missile firings in southern Pingtung county come as relations between Taipei and Beijing are increasingly strained, with China conducting two major military exercises around the island in the past year. — AFP

June 28, 2023

Taiwan has sighted two Russian frigates sailing off its eastern coast on Tuesday and deployed surveillance ships and aircraft to monitor their movements, the island's Ministry of National Defence said. 

The Russian warships were "detected sailing from south to north in the waters off our eastern coast" as of 11 pm local time (1500 GMT), it says in a statement on Tuesday.

Taiwan's military monitored their movements and "dispatched aircraft, ships and (activated) shore-based missile systems to keep watch", it adds.

The ministry did not say how far the warships were from Taiwan's coast.

Self-ruled Taiwan reports a near-daily presence of Chinese vessels near its waters. China claims the island as its territory and has vowed to take it one day, by force if necessary.

The presence of Russian warships is unusual, however.

June 24, 2023

Taiwan's defense ministry says Saturday that eight Chinese warplanes had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and come close to waters under Taipei's control.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be seized one day.

On Saturday, Taiwan's defense ministry says 19 Chinese warplanes including J-10 and J-16 fighters were detected around the island. — AFP

June 19, 2023

China's foreign minister says Sunday that Taiwan posed "the most prominent risk" in relations with the United States, state media reported, as top diplomats from the two countries met in Beijing.

"The Taiwan issue is the core of China's core interests, the most important issue in China-US relations and the most prominent risk," Qin Gang told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

June 8, 2023

More than 30 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defence zone over the course of about six hours, the island's defence ministry said Thursday, a sharp ramp-up in single-day incursions by China's military.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to take it one day -- by force if necessary. — AFP

May 27, 2023

The island's Ministry of National Defense says three Chinese ships, including the Shandong aircraft carrier, passed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday.

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, and in recent years has ramped up air and sea incursions around the island.

"A (People's Liberation Army Navy) flotilla of 3 ships, led by the Shangdong aircraft carrier, passed through the Taiwan Strait around noon today," the ministry says in a statement, referring to China's navy. — AFP

May 20, 2023

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen vows Saturday to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in the face of increased military pressure from China, saying that "war is not an option".

Under Tsai's two terms as president, the self-ruled island has seen stepped-up warplanes and sea incursions from China -- which claims Taiwan as its territory to be claimed one day, by force if necessary. 

Tsai -- who rejects that Taiwan is a part of China -- said that during her tenure, residents have shown the world "Taiwan's determination to defend itself". — AFP

May 12, 2023

Publishers in Taiwan warn their peers Friday not to visit mainland China and Hong Kong after an editor from the self-ruled island who went missing was detained on suspicion of national security crimes.

Activists and journalists in Taiwan sounded the alarm last month over the disappearance of China-born Li Yanhe, who lives in Taiwan and is the editor-in-chief of Gusa Publishing, which releases political titles.

Beijing then confirmed that he has been placed under investigation for "endangering national security". — AFP

April 28, 2023

A long-range Chinese combat drone capable of carrying a large weapons payload has circled Taiwan, the island's defence ministry said Friday.

Democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of an attack by Beijing, which views the island as part of its territory.

Taiwan's defence ministry said it detected 38 Chinese aircraft, including a TB-001 drone nicknamed the "twin-tailed scorpion", around the island between 6:00 am (1000 GMT) Thursday and 6:00 am Friday. 

The drone's circling flight path saw it cross the median line -- an unofficial boundary dividing the Taiwan Strait -- to the island's south before flying around its east coast and returning to China, a map released by the ministry showed. 

Local media said it was the first time Taiwan's defence ministry had reported a Chinese military aircraft circling the island from one end of the median line to the other. — AFP

April 26, 2023

The defense ministry says Taiwan's military will practice intercepting warships and combating a Chinese blockade of the island during annual war game simulations in July.

Democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of an attack by Beijing, which views the island as part of its territory that must be reunified.

The annual "Han Kuang" (Han Glory) drills will be divided into computer war games in May tackling "various possible actions of the enemy's invasion of Taiwan" and partial live-fire exercises in July, the ministry says. — AFP

April 23, 2023

China on Sunday said it had lodged a complaint with Seoul over South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's "erroneous" remarks about Taiwan, as a diplomatic spat simmers between the Asian neighbours.

Beijing and Seoul have traded barbs over a Reuters interview with Yoon this month, in which he called tensions between China and Taiwan a "global issue" similar to North Korea and blamed recent heightened tensions on "attempts to change the status quo by force".

China claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to bring the island under its control one day, with Beijing insisting that its dealings with Taipei are purely internal matters.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong had been ordered on Thursday to make a "solemn representation" to the South Korean ambassador over Yoon's comments. — AFP

April 16, 2023

China says it had launched a satellite into orbit, with authorities in Taiwan saying rocket debris had fallen into the sea where Beijing announced a no-sail zone this week. 

Maritime authorities in China's eastern Fujian province this week banned ships from an area north of Taiwan from 9:00 am (0100 GMT) to 3:00 pm (0700 GMT) on Sunday due to "possible falling rocket wreckage".

Taiwan's transport ministry said Beijing had also planned to prohibit aircraft from entering the zone -- criss-crossed by a number of international routes -- for around half an hour from 9:30 am, though Chinese authorities later criticised the claim as inaccurate.

The announcements came days after Beijing declared an end to large-scale military drills around Taiwan carried out as a furious response to its leader Tsai Ing-wen's recent visit to the United States. — AFP

April 12, 2023

Taiwan's transport ministry said Wednesday China has set up a brief no-fly zone north of the island for April 16 due to "space activities".

The closure comes after Beijing completed three days of massive war games around Taiwan that saw it simulate targeted strikes and practise a blockade of the island. 

The no-fly zone does not appear to be linked to the drills, with Taiwan's transport ministry saying China had imposed the restriction "on the convergence areas of many international routes to restrict flights on the grounds of 'space activities'".

The restrictions will be in place for just 27 minutes from 9:30 am to 9:57 am (0130 to 0157 GMT) on Sunday. — AFP

April 11, 2023

Taiwan's defense ministry says eight Chinese warships were still operating in waters around the island on Tuesday, a day after Beijing declared an end to its massive war games. 

China launched three days of military exercises around self-ruled Taiwan on Saturday that saw it simulate targeted strikes and practise a blockade of the island. 

The show of force was a response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week, an encounter it had warned would provoke retaliatory measures. — AFP

April 10, 2023

China has warned that peace in the Taiwan Strait and independence for the island were "mutually exclusive", as Beijing carried out military drills.

"Taiwan independence and Taiwan Strait peace and stability are mutually exclusive things," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing, adding: "If we want to protect peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait we must firmly oppose any form of Taiwan independence separatism." — AFP

April 10, 2023

China was due to hold live-fire drills on Monday to round off three days of military exercises in response to Taiwan's president meeting with the US House speaker.

Chinese fighter jets and warships simulated strikes on the self-ruled island over the weekend in exercises that sparked condemnation from Taipei and calls for restraint from Washington.

Dubbed "Joint Sword", the three-day operation has included rehearsing an encirclement of Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said.

China's war games involved sending planes, ships and personnel into "the maritime areas and air space" around all four sides of Taiwan, the army said of the exercises. — AFP

April 9, 2023

Taiwan's defense ministry says it had detected nine Chinese warships and 58 aircraft around the island, as China staged war games for a second day. 

The ministry said it was monitoring Chinese military "movements through (a) joint intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance system", adding the warplanes detected until 12 pm local time (0400 GMT) included a mix of fighter jets and bombers. — AFP

April 9, 2023

China was conducting a second day of military drills around Taiwan on Sunday, in what it has called a "stern warning" to the self-ruled island's government following a meeting between its president and the US House speaker.

The move sparked condemnation from Taipei and calls for restraint from Washington, which said it was "monitoring Beijing's actions closely".

Dubbed "Joint Sword", the three-day operation -- which includes rehearsing an encirclement of Taiwan -- will run until Monday, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said. 

China's war games saw planes, ships and personnel sent into "the maritime areas and air space of the Taiwan Strait, off the northern and southern coasts of the island, and to the island's east", the army said. — AFP

April 8, 2023

China's military drills on Saturday are rehearsing an "encirclement" of Taiwan, state media reports.

"The task force will simultaneously organise patrols and advances around Taiwan island, shaping an all-round encirclement and deterrence posture," state broadcaster CCTV says.

The report, published online, went on to detail the type of weaponry China was using during the drills. 

CCTV says "long-range rocket artillery, naval destroyers, missile boats, air force fighters, bombers, jammers and refuellers" had all been deployed in the war games. — AFP

April 8, 2023

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen says on Saturday that Taipei will continue working with the United States and other democracies as the island faces "continued authoritarian expansionism" from China.

Beijing announced three-days of military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday, calling them a "stern warning" to the self-ruled island's government after Tsai met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Hours after Beijing, which views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its own territory, announced the exercises, Tsai met with a US congressional delegation in Taipei led by House foreign affairs committee chairman Michael McCaul. — AFP

April 8, 2023

Taiwan detects 13 Chinese aircraft, 3 warships around island, says defense ministry. — AFP

April 8, 2023

China announces Saturday it was launching three days of military drills in the Taiwan Strait. 

The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command says "United Sharp Sword" would run April 8 to 10 for "combat preparedness". — AFP

April 7, 2023

China sent warships and aircraft near Taiwan for a second day on Friday, Taipei said, after President Tsai Ing-wen angered Beijing by meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Three Chinese warships sailed in waters surrounding the self-ruled island, while a fighter jet and an anti-submarine helicopter also crossed the island's air defence identification zone, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said.

On Wednesday, China's Shandong aircraft carrier, one of two in its naval fleet, sailed through Taiwan's southeastern waters on its way to the western Pacific, hours before Tsai met McCarthy in Los Angeles.

Beijing, which views Taiwan as part of its territory, had repeatedly warned against the meeting, and reiterated on Thursday that it would take "forceful measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty". — AFP

April 6, 2023

Tourist groups visiting Pingtan Island -- one of the closest points in southeastern China to Taiwan -- brave blustery seaside weather on Thursday and shrug off the boosted maritime patrols in the flashpoint waters beyond them.

Chinese maritime authorities announced beefed-up coastguard operations in the Taiwan Strait to coincide with the Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen holding talks with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California on Wednesday. After their meeting, Beijing vowed to take "firm and forceful measures" to safeguard Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory.

AFP saw cargo boats and fishers plying the choppy waters off the rocky Pingtan coastline, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Taiwan's Matsu Islands and 186 kilometres (115 miles) from Taipei. — AFP 

April 6, 2023

Taiwan's defense ministry says Thursday that one Chinese aircraft and three warships had been detected around the self-ruled island, as President Tsai Ing-wen met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.

"1 PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m. (UTC+8) today," Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence says in a statement. — AFP

April 6, 2023

State media Xinhua reports  China's foreign ministry on Thursday condemned the meeting between US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in California.

Tsai met with a delegation of US politicians from the Republican and Democratic parties during a stopover in the United States on Wednesday after visiting Guatemala and Belize, two of Taipei's dwindling group of official allies.

"In response to the seriously erroneous acts of collusion between the United States and Taiwan, China will take resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ministry said in a statement published by Xinhua. — AFP 

April 4, 2023

China vows to 'firmly defend national sovereignty' ahead of Tsai-McCarthy meet — Agence France Presse

April 1, 2023

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen arrives in Guatemala on a visit to shore up ties with dwindling allies following a trip to the United States that angered China.

Tsai's visit to Guatemala and its Central American neighbor Belize comes after Honduras became the latest country to cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing.

The president had stopped in New York on the way, and on her return trip has announced plans to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. — AFP

March 30, 2023

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen arrives in New York for a visit that has triggered threats of reprisal by China if she meets with House speaker Kevin McCarthy -- and US warnings for Beijing not to overreact.

Tsai is stopping over in the United States en route to Central America, where she will meet with the leaders of Guatemala and Belize to shore up ties with those diplomatic allies. On her way back to Taiwan she will stop in California, where McCarthy had said he would meet her.

China claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be retaken one day and, under its "One China" principle, no country may maintain official ties with both Beijing and Taipei. — AFP

March 29, 2023

China vows on Wednesday to "fight back" should Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen meet the US House speaker during a trip to the United States.

Tsai left on Wednesday for the United States, from where she will head to Guatemala and Belize to shore up ties with diplomatic allies before heading to California, where US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had said he would meet her.

China claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be retaken one day and, under its "One China" principle, no country may maintain official ties with both Beijing and Taipei. — AFP

March 29, 2023

China should not "overreact" and use a stopover in the United States by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as a "pretext" for aggression against the democratically ruled island of Taiwan, a senior US official says.

"There's absolutely no reason for China to use that as a pretext to overreact or to engage in further coercion directed at Taiwan," a senior administration tells reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We're going to carry out a transit that is fully consistent with that policy and decades' worth of practice," the official says, adding that Beijing "will not pressure the US government to alter our longstanding practice" on such visits.

Tsai Ing-wen was departing Taiwan on Wednesday for the 10-day trip, stopping in New York and Los Angeles while en route to and from Guatemala and Belize, according to Taiwan's foreign ministry.

The Central American countries are two of just 14 states that officially recognize Taiwan over China. Tsai's trip comes after Honduras said earlier this month that it was switching recognition to Beijing. — AFP

March 28, 2023

A battle in the intense diplomatic war between China and Taiwan is being fought in Latin America, where Honduras has become the latest country to ditch Taipei and align itself with Beijing.

Paraguay will be the next front as it holds a presidential election in April, with opposition candidate Efrain Alegre having vowed to reevaluate relations with Taipei if he wins.

After Honduras' severing of ties with Taiwan on Sunday, only Paraguay and 12 other countries now maintain diplomatic relations with the self-ruled democratic island: Guatemala, Belize, Haiti, the Holy See, Eswatini, and seven small Caribbean and Pacific island nations. 

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, is set to visit Guatemala and Belize this week seeking to boost ties after Honduras and others recently shifted their allegiance to China: Nicaragua in 2021, El Salvador in 2018, Panama in 2017 and Costa Rica in 2007. — AFP

March 27, 2023

Taiwan ex-president Ma Ying-jeou has travelled to China, embarking on the first cross-strait visit by a current or former leader of the island in more than seven decades, a trip Taipei's ruling party called "regrettable".

Ma's 12-day trip will not involve any official meetings, his office said, with his focus on paying tribute to his ancestors and promoting youth exchanges. 

"I hope to improve the cross-strait atmosphere through the enthusiastic interactions of young people, so peace can come to us faster and sooner," the 73-year-old says at the airport.

The former president's departure comes a day after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory and has vowed to retake it one day. — AFP

March 26, 2023

Taiwan's foreign minister has accused Honduran President Xiomara Castro of "harbouring illusions" over Chinese promises of financial aid, shortly after the Central American country cut ties with Taipei.

"President Castro and her ruling team have been harbouring illusions on China and had brought up the issue of switching recognition on the campaign trail," says Joseph Wu. "China has not ceased its attempts to lure away Honduras with financial incentives." — AFP

March 25, 2023

Wellington's foreign minister says New Zealand raised concerns with China over human rights abuses and growing tensions with Taiwan.

Nanaia Mahuta held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in which they discussed "challenging issues", she says, including human rights in Xinjiang, freedoms in Hong Kong and China's influence in the Pacific.

"There's a lot that we can agree on and we also discussed some of the challenging issues, working through where we don't agree on," she says at the New Zealand embassy in Beijing. — AFP

March 23, 2023

Taiwan recalled on Thursday its ambassador to Honduras over a visit by Tegucigalpa's foreign minister to China, Taipei's government said in a statement.

"Honduras ignored more than 80 years of friendship between (Taiwan and Honduras) when they sent their foreign minister to China, which has seriously damaged the feelings of our government and people," said a foreign ministry statement. 

"We have decided to immediately recall our ambassador in Honduras to express our strong dissatisfaction."

The announcement came as Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina was heading to China to hold talks on the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing, government officials said.

China considers self-ruled democratic Taiwan as a part of its territory, to be retaken one day -- by force, if necessary.

Last week, Honduran President Xiomara Castro ordered Reina to establish diplomatic relations with China, a move that would sever its ties with Taiwan. — AFP

March 20, 2023

Taiwan's ex-president Ma Ying-jeou will travel to China next week, his spokesman said Monday, in the first cross-strait visit by a current or former leader of the island in more than 70 years.

Ma will not visit Beijing and has no current plans to meet Chinese government officials, the spokesman added.

China claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary. The two split in 1949 after a civil war won by the Communist Party, with the defeated nationalists fleeing to the island.

A member of Beijing-friendly party the Kuomintang (KMT), Ma oversaw a dramatic improvement in ties during his 2008-16 rule, which culminated in a summit between him and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Singapore in 2015.

Relations have plunged under Ma's successor, President Tsai Ing-wen, who has taken a more robust position on Taiwan's sovereignty, prompting increasing military, diplomatic and economic pressure from Beijing. — AFP

March 20, 2023

Taiwan's ex-president Ma Ying-jeou will travel to China next week, his spokesman says, in the first cross-strait visit by a current or former leader of the island in more than 70 years.

Ma will not visit Beijing and has no current plans to meet Chinese government officials, the spokesman adds.

China claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary. The two split in 1949 after a civil war won by the Communist Party, with the defeated nationalists fleeing to the island.

A member of Beijing-friendly party the Kuomintang (KMT), Ma oversaw a dramatic improvement in ties during his 2008-16 rule, which culminated in a summit between him and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Singapore in 2015. — AFP

March 15, 2023

Taiwan's foreign ministry says it had asked Honduras not to "make the wrong decision" of establishing official ties with China, after the Honduran president said she had instructed her foreign minister to do so.

"We ask Honduras to carefully consider and do not fall into China's trap and make the wrong decision to damage the long-term friendship between Taiwan and Honduras," says a foreign ministry statement. — AFP

March 15, 2023

Honduras will establish diplomatic relations with mainland China, President Xiomara Castro said Tuesday, without specifying if the Central American country would also sever longstanding ties with Taiwan.

Castro wrote on Twitter that she had instructed Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina "to undertake the opening of official relations with the People's Republic of China."

The move comes weeks after her government announced it was negotiating with China to build a hydroelectric dam, called Patuca II.

When announcing the plan in February, Reina said the dam, financed by China, would help Honduras boost its energy supplies. -- AFP

March 14, 2023

Taiwan has unveiled its first portable attack drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle similar to a US model used in Ukraine's fight against Russia, as China steps up military pressure on the island.

Taiwan's 23.5 million people live under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled democracy as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.

Beijing's sabre-rattling has intensified in recent years under President Xi Jinping, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine has deepened fears in Taiwan that China might move similarly.

The military-run National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday showed off its new loitering munition drone, which is similar to the US-made Switchblade 300 currently used by Ukrainian soldiers. 

The Taiwanese-made single-use drone, designed to be small enough to be carried in a backpack, can stay in the air for 15 minutes, according to NCSIST. — AFP

January 31, 2023

China criticizes Czech president-elect Petr Pavel on Tuesday for holding a telephone call with Taiwan's president and foreign minister the day before.

Beijing is trying to keep Taiwan isolated on the world stage and opposes countries having official exchanges with Taipei.

It claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.  AFP

January 9, 2023

China Monday invoked Germany's "painful" history in slamming a Taiwan visit by a high-ranking parliamentary delegation from Berlin, in an apparent reference to the country's wartime record.

The group of German lawmakers arrived in the self-ruled island on Monday ahead of an anticipated ministerial visit later this year in a move that will likely enrage China.

The visit is a "sign of solidarity" with the democracy which China claims as part of its territory, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chair of the parliamentary defence committee and a leader of the delegation, told AFP.

China's foreign ministry Monday swiftly condemned the visit.

"The root cause of the Taiwan problem is precisely that the law of the jungle, hegemonism, colonialism, militarism and nationalism were rampant in the world, and China suffered deeply from them," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a briefing. 

"Germany has (experienced) a profound and painful historical lesson in this regard," he added. -- AFP

January 2, 2023

China's warplane incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone nearly doubled in 2022, with a surge in fighter jet and bomber sorties as Beijing intensified threats towards the island democracy.

Self-ruled Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion. Communist Party rulers claim the island as part of China's territory and have vowed to seize it one day.

Relations have been icy for years under President Xi Jinping, China's most assertive leader in a generation.

But 2022 saw a deeper deterioration, as Xi's military ramped up incursions and launched the largest war games in decades to protest against a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August.

China sent 1,727 planes into Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in 2022, according to an AFP database based on daily updates released by Taipei's defence ministry. — AFP

January 1, 2023

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen extended an olive branch to Beijing on Sunday, pledging to offer assistance if needed as coronavirus cases surge in China after its abrupt lifting of pandemic restrictions.

"As long as there is a need, we are willing to provide necessary assistance based on humanitarian concerns," Tsai said in her customary New Year's Day speech. 

She added that she hoped Taiwanese aid could "help more people out of the pandemic and have a healthy and safe New Year".

China is facing an explosion of Covid-19 cases after dropping its stringent "zero-Covid" containment policy last month, three years after the coronavirus first emerged in the city of Wuhan.

Chinese hospitals have been hit by a flood of mostly elderly patients, crematoriums have been overloaded and many pharmacies have run out of fever medications.  -- AFP

December 27, 2022

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen announces on Tuesday an extension in mandatory military service from four months to one year, saying the island needs to prepare for the increasing threat from China.

"The current four-month military service is not enough to meet the fast and ever-changing situation," she tells a news conference. "We have decided to restore the one-year military service from 2024. -- AFP

December 27, 2022

Taiwan is expected to announce on Tuesday an extension in mandatory military service from four months to one year, citing the threat from an increasingly hostile China, local media reported.

Self-ruled, democratic Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which considers the island a part of its territory, to be taken one day, by force if necessary.

Beijing's sabre-rattling has intensified in recent years under President Xi Jinping, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine deepened fears in Taiwan that China might move similarly to annex the island. — AFP

December 26, 2022

China used 71 warplanes in weekend war drills: Taiwan defense ministry -- AFP

November 29, 2022

A Taiwanese couple is facing multiple charges for allegedly bribing voters with Chinese Covid tests ahead of the island's local elections, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Chiu Jui-lien and her husband are reportedly the first indicted for violating the "anti-infiltration law" aimed at countering influence from China -- which views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to seize the island.

The law, pushed by President Tsai Ing-wen's ruling party in 2019, bans "hostile" foreign forces from campaigning, lobbying, making political donations or spreading disinformation related to elections.

Chiu, who was running for borough chief in Taipei city, and her husband were indicted on Monday for giving out Chinese Covid tests to solicit votes, the Shihlin district prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The free tests were supplied by the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone in China's Fujian province, established in 2009 with the goal of boosting regional development and its bond with Taiwan.  -- AFP

October 10, 2022

Taiwan's leader has warned Beijing that the island would never give up its democratic way of life in a national day speech in which she drew parallels with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The self-ruled democracy's 23 million people live under the constant threat of invasion by China's Communist Party, and Moscow's war in Ukraine has deepened fears that Beijing might attempt something similar with the island.

In her speech, President Tsai Ing-wen compared Moscow's invasion to Beijing's goal of one day taking control of Taiwan -- which it has vowed to do, by force if necessary.

"We absolutely cannot ignore the challenge that these military expansions pose to the free and democratic world order," she says.

"The destruction of Taiwan's democracy and freedom would be a grave defeat for the world's democracies," she adds. — AFP

September 16, 2022

Taiwan on Friday condemns growing ties between Russia and China as a threat to global peace and stability after the leaders of the two authoritarian nations met face to face.

"(Russia) calls those who maintain peace and the status quo provocative, which highly demonstrates the harm caused by the alliance of Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes on international peace, stability, democracy and freedom," Taiwan's foreign ministry says in a statement. — AFP

September 1, 2022

Taiwanese soldiers on a tiny islet just off China's mainland shot down an "unidentified civilian drone" on Thursday after it entered a restricted zone, Taipei's military said.

It is the first time Taiwanese forces have downed a drone and comes at a time when tensions between Beijing and Taipei are at their highest in decades.

Taiwan's defence ministry said a small civilian drone entered a "restricted zone" above Shiyu Islet, a small rock that lies between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan's Kinmen islands.

"The stationed troops followed procedures to warn off the drone but to no avail. The drone was shot down in defensive fire," the defence ministry said.

Kinmen lies just a few miles off China's coastline and Taiwan has reported a spate of incidents in the last two weeks where small drones have hovered over soldier outposts. 

Videos have been circulated on both Taiwanese and Chinese social media, with one showing Taiwanese soldiers hurling rocks at a drone to drive it off. — AFP

August 26, 2022

China's huge military drills around Taiwan have only made allies more determined to visit the island democracy and show solidarity, Taipei's foreign minister Joseph Wu says.

Beijing staged the unprecedented sea and air drills in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this month, sending tensions to their highest level in decades.

Three US politicians have visited in Pelosi's wake, the latest being Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn who met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday.

"We will not stop making friends just because of the Chinese threats against Taiwan," Wu tells a briefing with foreign media. — AFP

August 25, 2022

Taiwan announces plans for a record increase to its defense budget on Thursday after huge military drills by China earlier this month sent tensions between the two to their highest in decades.

Taipei has proposed a defence budget of Tw$415.1 billion ($13.7 billion) for next year, up 13 percent year-on-year, pending parliamentary approval.

An additional special budget will also be created specifically to acquire new fighter jets and other projects to boost naval and air capabilities, the top budgeting agency says in a statement. — AFP

August 25, 2022

Sitting pensively in a pew at a Taipei church, army reservist Henry Cheng is nonchalant about the Chinese warships and jets circling his island -- but he also feels ill-prepared for war.

China's massive military drills this month pushed tensions in the Taiwan Strait to their highest point in years, deepening fears Beijing could forcibly take control of the self-ruled democracy it claims as its own. 

Coming on the heels of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the crisis has revived debate within Taiwan and among key Western allies about the readiness of the island's vastly outnumbered military. 

But Cheng said he was unconcerned.

"It was like 'Oh, they're at it again,'" the 25-year-old insurance sales agent told AFP. "They've been talking about a war since I was little but there still hasn't been one."

Cheng completed his mandatory four-month military service last year, placing him in the ranks of some 2.5 million reservists who could be called up to battle if an invasion took place.

Yet conflict feels like a distant reality for Cheng compared to his usual routine of meeting clients and rehearsing Christian worship songs as a drummer for his church band. 

"I'm definitely not ready (for war), because four months to me is more like going there to play," he said, referencing his training.

"I'd probably die very quickly. I'll face it when it comes." -- AFP

August 18, 2022

The United States expects China to ramp up its military, diplomatic and economic "coercion" of Taiwan, its top envoy in East Asia said Thursday, after Beijing's unprecedented drills around the island it claims as its own.

The Chinese military has staged days of air and sea exercises in the Taiwan Strait after visits by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation to the self-ruled island. 

Washington annnounces plans for formal trade talks with Taiwan by the autumn in a show of support for the democracy in response to China's drills, despite not holding official ties with the government in Taipei.

"While our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing's growing coercion," Washington's top envoy for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink, tells reporters on a teleconference call.

"These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign... to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience," he says. — AFP

August 15, 2022

China staged fresh military drills around Taiwan on Monday, slamming a new visit by United States lawmakers to the island days after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi triggered a furious response from Beijing.

The unannounced two-day trip by senior members of Congress prompted China to renew its rhetoric that it would "prepare for war" over Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that Beijing's leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize. 

The five-member congressional delegation -- led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts -- met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to Washington's de facto embassy in Taipei.

"The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan," it said. 

The bipartisan trip sparked another bellicose response from Beijing, which said it had carried out a fresh round of "combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island" on Monday.

"The Chinese People's Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely crush any form of 'Taiwan independence' separatism and foreign interference attempts," Wu Qian, a spokesman for China's Defense Ministry, said. -- AFP

August 15, 2022

China says it had organised fresh military drills around Taiwan, as a delegation of visiting United States lawmakers were set to meet the island's leader just weeks after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heightened fears of conflict. 

The unannounced two-day trip came after Beijing sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that China's leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize. — AFP

August 15, 2022

Taiwan saw a spike in online misinformation as China hosted huge military drills this month, much of it aimed at undermining the democratic island's morale and pushing Beijing's narrative.

China raged against a visit to Taipei by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sending warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around its self-ruled neighbour.

At the same time pro-China posts flooded social media with false and misleading claims about Pelosi and her Taiwanese hosts.

Many were posts sharing old military footage alongside claims they showed real military drills, mainly by China. 

And as tensions in the Taiwan Strait rose to their highest level in years, fact-checkers played a round the clock game of whack-a-mole.

Charles Yeh, chief editor for Taiwanese fact-check site MyGoPen, said most of the misinformation his team had observed was anti-American and promoted the idea that the island should "surrender" to China.

"In addition to military exercises in the physical world, China has also launched offensives in the online world -- cyberattacks and misinformation," he said. -- AFP

August 9, 2022

Taiwan's military holds a live-fire artillery drill simulating a defense of the island against an attack after days of massive Chinese war games. 

Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan's Eighth Army Corps, confirms the drills started in the southern county of Pingtung shortly after 0040 GMT with the firing of target flares and artillery, ending within an hour at 0130 GMT. 

As the last round of cannon was fired, Taiwanese soldiers were heard shouting "mission accomplished". — AFP

August 8, 2022

China carried out fresh military drills around Taiwan Monday, Beijing said, defying calls to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the island in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades — ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence.

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled democratic island that China claims as its territory.

Those drills had been expected to draw to a close on Sunday, but China said Monday they were still ongoing.

"The eastern theater of the Chinese People's Liberation Army continued to carry out practical joint exercises and training in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island," the military said. — AFP

August 8, 2022

Beijing says China carried out fresh military drills around Taiwan Monday, defying calls for it to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the democratic island in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi -- the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades -- ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defense.

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled island that China claims as its territory. — AFP

August 8, 2022

China's largest-ever military exercises surrounding Taiwan are drawing to a close following a controversial visit last week to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi -- the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades -- ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence. 

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled island -- which China claims as its territory. — AFP

August 7, 2022

China is set Sunday to wrap up its largest-ever military exercises surrounding Taiwan after a controversial visit to the self-ruled island by US leader Nancy Pelosi. 

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi -- the second in the line of succession to the US presidency -- ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence cooperation. 

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles around Taiwan in what analysts have described as practising a blockade and ultimate invasion of the island.

-- AFP

August 5, 2022

Australia slams China's launch of missiles into waters near Taiwan, labelling the military drills encircling the island "disproportionate and destabilizing".

Canberra's foreign minister Penny Wong urged "restraint and de-escalation" following the launches and said she had expressed concern to her Chinese counterpart.

"Australia is deeply concerned about the launch of ballistic missiles by China into waters around Taiwan's coastline," Wong says in a statement. — AFP

August 5, 2022

China is set to press ahead with its largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan despite firm statements of condemnation by the United States, Japan and the European Union.

Beijing's decision to fire ballistic missiles and deploy fighter jets around Taiwan saw Washington lambast what it said was a gross overreaction to a visit to the self-ruled, democratic island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The US House speaker was the highest-profile US official to go to Taiwan in years and defied stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory. — AFP

August 4, 2022

Taiwan strikes a defiant tone as a furious China geared up for military exercises encircling the island in retaliation for Nancy Pelosi's visit, hours after the senior US politician left.

Group of Seven leaders urged Beijing to show restraint, saying there was "no justification" for "aggressive" military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

US House Speaker Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday morning, having defied a series of increasingly stark threats from Beijing, which views the island as its territory and warned it would consider the visit a major provocation. — AFP

August 3, 2022

China insists Wednesday its military exercises around the Taiwan Strait were "necessary and just" in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island. 

"The Chinese military's conducting of military exercises in the sea near China's Taiwan are a necessary and just measure to resolutely protect national sovereignty," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying tells a regular briefing. — AFP 

July 26, 2022

Taiwan simulates intercepting Chinese attacks from the sea in annual war games, with President Tsai Ing-wen hailing the military's "determination" as she watched from onboard a destroyer. 

Democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of being invaded by China, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be seized by force if necessary. 

On the second day of the island's largest annual war drills, Tsai, dressed in military fatigues, boards the Kee Lung class destroyer to supervise a live-fire drill off Taiwan's eastern coast. 

Fighter jets and warships set off various types of missiles aimed at intercepting "a group of enemy ships", the military says. — AFP

July 20, 2022

China slams Washington as "a destroyer of peace" in the Taiwan Strait, following the latest in a series of passages by US warships through the waterway. 

Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory to be re-taken one day -- and the narrow body of water that separates the island and mainland China is a flashpoint between the two sides.

In contrast to Beijing's position, the United States and other countries see the strait as part of international waters and thus open to all, and this year a US warship has transited the route almost every month.   

On Tuesday, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit ... through international waters", the US Seventh Fleet says in a statement. 

"The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State," it adds. –  AFP

June 12, 2022

China will "fight to the very end" to stop Taiwanese independence, the country's defence minister vowed Sunday, stoking already soaring tensions with the United States over the island. 

It was the latest salvo in a growing war of words between the superpowers over the self-ruled, democratic island, which Beijing views as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

Frequent Chinese aerial incursions near Taiwan have raised the diplomatic temperature, and on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused Beijing of "destabilizing" military activity in a speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit. -- AFP

June 2, 2022

China says it "firmly opposes" trade talks between the United States and Taiwan after Taipei and Washington announced the launch of a new initiative to deepen economic ties.  

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and tries to keep it isolated on the world stage, bristling at any attempt to treat the self-governing democracy as an independent nation.

"China always opposes any form of official exchanges between any country and the Taiwan region of China, including negotiating and signing any economic and trade agreements with sovereign connotations and an official nature," commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng says. — AFP

May 24, 2022

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said Washington's "strategic ambiguity" policy for Taiwan remains in place, a day after his comment about readiness to defend the island against a Chinese invasion suggested a change.

"No", Biden told reporters in Tokyo when asked if the policy was now dead. "The policy has not changed at all. I stated that when I made my statement yesterday."

Biden's latest declaration followed similar insistence from top US officials that a decades-old approach to Taiwan remains in place. 

This includes arming the democratic island for its own defense, while acknowledging China's legal sovereignty and expressing "strategic ambiguity" on whether American troops would ever intervene.

The reassurances follow the president's answer to a question at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday where he said "yes," when asked if Washington would be willing to get involved militarily in Taiwan's defense. — AFP

May 24, 2022

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says that Washington's "one-China policy" toward Taiwan has not changed, after President Joe Biden said the United States was willing to defend the island militarily from a Chinese invasion.

"Our policy has not changed," Austin told reporters, after being asked about the meaning of Biden's comments.

Speaking in Japan earlier Monday, Biden answered "yes" when asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan.

"That's the commitment we made," he added. — AFP

May 11, 2022

The United States insists that nothing had changed in its stance toward Taiwan after Beijing was angered by an updated fact sheet that used less explicit language to reject the island's independence.

The State Department says the United States still only recognized Beijing as China's government and was simply polishing off an online fact sheet which had not altered in several years.

"There's been no change in our policy. All we have done is update a fact sheet, and that's something that we routinely do with our relationships around the world," State Department spokesman Ned Price tells reporters. — AFP

March 4, 2022

The United States should diplomatically recognise Taiwan as "a free and sovereign country," former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech while visiting the island. 

Pompeo, one of former president Donald Trump's most hawkish advisors on China, arrived on Wednesday for a visit at a time of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over the self-ruled island as well as the crisis sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

While Washington should continue to engage with Beijing as a sovereign government, offering Taipei diplomatic recognition "can no longer be ignored, avoided or treated as secondary," Pompeo said in a speech hosted by a local think-tank.

"It is my view that the United States government should immediately take necessary and long-overdue steps to do the right and obvious thing, that is to offer the Republic of China (Taiwan) America’s diplomatic recognition as a free and sovereign country."

The Republic of China is Taiwan's official name.  — AFP

December 10, 2021

The US State Department called on "all countries that value democratic institutions" to "expand engagement with Taiwan" in a statement Thursday after Nicaragua announced it was cutting diplomatic relations with the island in favor of China. 

The statement said the move by President Daniel Ortega "cannot reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people" due to the the Central American country's recent presidential election being a "sham."

"This deprives Nicaragua’s people of a steadfast partner in its democratic and economic growth," the department's statement said. — AFP

December 10, 2021

Nicaragua announced Thursday it was breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China, as the administration of Daniel Ortega believes there is only one "legitimate government" representing Chinese interests, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said.

"The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory," Moncada said in a statement.

Chinese state media confirmed the news but offered no further details. 

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if needed. — AFP

December 1, 2021

Beijing has pressured foreign governments to deport hundreds of Taiwan nationals to China, a new report found, in what human rights activists describe as a "hunt for Taiwanese".

More than 600 Taiwanese were extradited from various countries to China between 2016 and 2019 in an effort to "undermine Taiwanese sovereignty", rights group Safeguard Defenders said in a report Tuesday.

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, to be retaken one day by force if necessary, and has stepped up efforts in recent years to diplomatically isolate it.

China and Taiwan agreed in 2009 that police from both sides would return overseas suspects to their respective territories. — AFP

December 1, 2021

Beijing has pressured foreign governments to deport hundreds of Taiwan nationals to China, a new report found, in what human rights activists describe as a "hunt for Taiwanese".

More than 600 Taiwanese were extradited from various countries to China between 2016 and 2019 in an effort to "undermine Taiwanese sovereignty", rights group Safeguard Defenders said in a report Tuesday.

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, to be retaken one day by force if necessary, and has stepped up efforts in recent years to diplomatically isolate it. — AFP

November 26, 2021

China says on Thursday that it had stopped issuing visas in Lithuania, as the two countries spar over Taiwan. 

"Due to technical reasons, consular services will be suspended from November 25," the Chinese embassy says in a statement. 

"The date of resumption of services will be notified later." — AFP

November 23, 2021

China warns Taiwanese firms against supporting the island's independence, hours after state media said a Taiwanese conglomerate was fined by mainland regulators as tensions flare between Taipei and Beijing.

Beijing "would never allow people who support 'Taiwan independence' and damage cross-strait relations to make money on the mainland," the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) says in a statement issued late Monday.

It was responding to a report on the official Xinhua news agency that Taiwan's Far Eastern Group was fined in China over its investments in several Chinese provinces for violating local regulations. — AFP

November 21, 2021

China has officially downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania in protest, the foreign ministry in Beijing said Sunday, after Taiwan established a de facto embassy in Vilnius.

Lithuania allowing Taipei to open an office using the name Taiwan was a significant diplomatic departure that defied a pressure campaign by Beijing.

China baulks at any official use of the word "Taiwan", lest it lend a sense of international legitimacy to the island — which it considers a part of its territory to be taken one day.

"The Chinese government had to lower diplomatic relations between the two countries... to safeguard its sovereignty and the basic norms of international relations," the ministry said in a statement announcing the downgrade to the charge d'affaires level.

"The Lithuanian government must bear all consequences that arise from this."

It added that Lithuania had "abandoned the political commitment made upon the establishment of diplomatic relations" with China. — AFP

November 19, 2021

China on Friday slams the opening of a de facto Taiwanese embassy in Lithuania as an "extremely egregious act," saying any move seeking Taiwanese independence was "doomed to fail."

"There is but one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the Chinese foreign ministry says in a statement.

"We demand that the Lithuanian side immediately correct its wrong decision." — AFP

November 14, 2021

The United States has warned China over its pressure on Taiwan, the State Department said Saturday as the two powers gird for a hotly awaited summit.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and "expressed concern regarding the PRC's continued military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan," the department said in a statement.

President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are set to hold a virtual summit Monday evening Washington time.

Blinken and Wang spoke Friday to discuss preparations for the summit, with the secretary reported to have "urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve cross-Strait issues peacefully and in a manner consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan." — AFP

October 28, 2021

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed a small number of US troops are present in Taiwan to help with training, adding she had "faith" that the American military would defend the island in the event of a Chinese attack.

In an interview with CNN, Tsai described Taiwan as a regional "beacon" of democracy that is facing down a giant authoritarian neighbour as she warned that the threat from Beijing is growing "every day".

The presence of US troops was first confirmed to AFP and other media by a Pentagon official earlier this month.

But Tsai's comments are the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly made such an admission since the last US garrison left in 1979 when Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Asked how many US troops were in Taiwan, Tsai replied "not as many as people thought". — AFP

October 28, 2021

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen says she has "faith" that the United States will defend the island in the event China launches a military strike, in an interview with CNN broadcast Wednesday.

"I do have faith" that US forces would help defend Taiwan, Tsai tells the news network, adding that Washington's commitment includes sending Americans to train Taiwan's military — a program confirmed to AFP by a Pentagon official earlier this month.

"We have a wide range of cooperation with the US aiming at increasing our defense capability," Tsai says. — AFP

October 28, 2021

China insists that Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations as Washington urged the island's greater involvement in the world body.

"Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations," Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, tells reporters.

"The United Nations is an international governmental organisation composed of sovereign states... Taiwan is a part of China." — AFP

October 27, 2021

Taiwan has "no right to join the United Nations", a Beijing official said Wednesday, after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged greater inclusion of Taiwan in UN institutions.

"The United Nations is an international governmental organization composed of sovereign states," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing at a regular briefing, adding: "Taiwan is a part of China." — AFP

October 10, 2021

Taiwan will not bow to pressure by Beijing and will defend its democratic way of life, President Tsai Ing-wen says Sunday, following a spike in incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defence zone.

Self-governed Taiwan's 23 million people live under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

"The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China," Tsai says in a speech marking Taiwan's National Day, adding: "Nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us." — AFP

October 2, 2021

A record 38 Chinese military jets crossed into Taiwan's defence zone as Beijing marked the founding of the People's Republic of China, Taipei said on Saturday. 

The show of force on China's National Day on Friday near the self-ruled democratic island, which Beijing claims as part of its territory, came in the same week it accused Britain of sending a warship into the Taiwan Strait with "evil intentions".

Taiwan's defense ministry said it scrambled its aircraft to broadcast warnings after 22 fighters, two bombers and one anti-submarine aircraft entered the island's southwest Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Friday.

A second batch of 13 jets crossed into Taiwan's ADIZ later on Friday, in a rare night incursion, bringing the total to a record 38, according to the ministry.

The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan's territorial airspace but includes a far greater area that overlaps with part of China's own air defense identification zone and even includes some of mainland China. — AFP

September 27, 2021

The Royal Navy said a British warship was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, a move that challenges Beijing's claim to the sensitive waterway and marks a rare voyage by a non-US military vessel.

"After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are now en route through the Taiwan Strait to visit Vietnam and the Vietnam People's Navy," read a tweet from the official account for HMS Richmond, a frigate deployed with Britain's aircraft carrier strike group.

Local media said it was the first time a British warship had transited through the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China.

The British navy survey ship HMS Enterprise transited through the strait in 2019. The UK's defense ministry did not respond to a request for comment. — AFP

June 16, 2021

Macau said Wednesday it was closing its representative office in Taiwan, following neighboring Hong Kong which made the same move last month in protest at Taipei's support for pro-democracy activists.

Hong Kong and Macau are "semi-autonomous" Chinese cities, although foreign policy is all but dictated by Beijing and the central government has taken an increasingly more direct say in how both former colonies are run in recent years.

In a short statement, Macau announced its Economic and Cultural Delegation in Taiwan will temporarily suspend operations from June 19.

No reason was given for the closure, but the wording was almost identical to last month's statement by Hong Kong.

That announcement was then followed by Hong Kong's government confirming the closure was indeed political.

Taiwan, Hong Kong said, had "grossly interfered" in the city's affairs on repeated occasions and "created irretrievable damage" to relations. — AFP

March 16, 2021

China's accelerated military modernization poses a clear and growing threat to Taiwan, and US intervention might only risk intensifying pressure from Beijing, US defense officials say.

Washington's top US military officer in Asia-Pacific Admiral Philip Davidson made waves last week by warning that Beijing could seek to invade Taiwan within six years.

And as Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin makes Asia the target of his first overseas trip, US defense officials have hammered home the threat they see posed by Beijing's rapid military build-up.

"Preparing for Taiwan contingencies has been a focus in China's military modernisation for some time," acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs David Helvey told reporters as Austin headed to Tokyo on Monday.

"So as their capabilities are increasing, obviously we are paying very careful attention to the military balance in the Taiwan strait." — AFP

February 20, 2021

Prosecutors say four retired Taiwanese military intelligence officers -- including a major general -- have been indicted for spying for China.

The quartet were charged with developing a spying network and collecting confidential information for Beijing, the Taipei district prosecutors' office says.

The two sides have been spying on each other since the Nationalists fled to the island to set up a rival government in 1949, having lost a civil war on the mainland to the communists. — AFP

January 24, 2021

The United States' commitment to Taiwan is "rock-solid", the State Department says late Saturday, as it warned that China's "attempts to intimidate" the island are a threat to regional peace.

The comments are the first from Washington on relations with Taiwan since President Joe Biden's inauguration last week, and came on the same day Taipei reported multiple Chinese jets and bombers had flown into its air defence zone.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price says it "notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbours, including Taiwan" and "urges Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan". —  AFP

January 11, 2021

China on Monday threatens a "counterstrike" against a move by the United States to lift restrictions on official contacts with Taiwan as military tensions grow between Beijing and the self-ruled island.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday Washington would lift "complex internal restrictions" on contacts with Taipei by diplomats, after a year of mounting US-Chinese friction on topics including human rights, trade and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing says Taiwan is an inviolable part of China to be reclaimed, by force if necessary, and opposes any diplomatic recognition of the democratic island. —  AFP

November 9, 2020

Taiwan on Monday says Chinese "obstruction" had prevented it from attending a key World Health Organization meeting focused on the coronavirus, accusing the global body of prioritizing politics over health.

The self-ruled island of 23 million has seen remarkable success in combatting the pandemic — with only seven deaths and fewer than 600 confirmed cases — as many parts of the world report surging numbers of infections and deaths.

But it is frozen out of the WHO by Beijing, which regards Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.

The WHO's decision not to invite Taiwan to its annual assembly — due to resume virtually on Monday after being cut short by the pandemic in May — was a result of "political considerations", Taipei's foreign ministry says Monday.

"The ministry expresses deep regrets and strong dissatisfaction over China's obstruction of Taiwan's participation," it says in a statement.

"As the world is still under serious threat of the Covid-19 pandemic... it is an irony to the 'health for all' goal under the WHO charter" to exclude Taiwan, it adds. — AFP

September 22, 2020

Taiwan on Tuesday demanded that China "back off" and accused it of threatening peace, after a Beijing official rejected a largely respected marine boundary following recent incursions.

Foreign minister Joseph Wu urged Beijing to "return to the civilised international standards" after a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said there was no so-called median line in the Taiwan Strait "as Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory".

Wu told reporters: "The median line has been a symbol of preventing military conflicts and maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait for many years. The Chinese foreign ministry's comment is equivalent of destroying the status quo."

"I call on the international community to condemn the CCP for its dangerous and provocative words and deeds threatening peace... China must back off," he added in a tweet.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory, to be absorbed into the mainland, by force if necessary, even though it has been self-ruled for more than seven decades. — AFP

August 10, 2020

A US cabinet member met Taiwan's president Monday during the highest level visit from the United States since it switched diplomatic recognition from the island to China in 1979.

Health Secretary Alex Azar was greeted by Tsai Ing-wen as the head of a delegation on a visit that has infuriated Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province. — AFP

August 9, 2020

A senior member of US President Donald Trump's administration landed in Taiwan Sunday for Washington's highest level visit since switching diplomatic recognition to China in 1979, a trip Beijing has condemned.  

During the three-day visit Health Secretary Alex Azar will meet President Tsai Ing-wen, who advocates Taiwan being recognized as a sovereign nation and is loathed by China's leaders. 

Azar is the most senior US cabinet member to visit Taiwan in decades and his visit comes as relations between the world's two biggest economic powers plunge to historic lows. — AFP

January 12, 2020

Chinese state media accuse Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of "dirty tactics" and cheating after she was re-elected with a landslide victory in a stunning rebuke of Beijing's campaign to isolate the self-ruled island. — AFP

December 27, 2019

Taipei's defence ministry says a newly commissioned Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait for a second time Thursday, just weeks before the island goes to polls to elect a new president. 

The ministry says it was fully monitoring the Shandong, China's first domestically built carrier, and accompanying ships as they traversed the strait separating China from self-ruled Taiwan. 

Taiwan's presidential office says in a statement that China had an "international responsibility" to contribute to cross-strait and regional peace and welfare. — AFP

December 26, 2019

A newly commissioned Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait for a second time Thursday, Taipei's defence ministry said, just weeks before the island goes to polls to elect a new president. 

The ministry said it was fully monitoring the Shandong, China's first domestically built carrier, and accompanying ships as they traversed the strait separating China from self-ruled Taiwan. 

Taiwan's presidential office said in a statement that China had an "international responsibility" to contribute to cross-strait and regional peace and welfare.

Last month Beijing confirmed it had sent the new carrier through the strait as part of routine training, sparking concerns from Washington's de facto embassy in Taiwan. 

At the time, foreign minister Joseph Wu accused China of attempting to intervene in Taiwan's elections, saying "voters won't be intimidated".

The sail-bys come ahead of Taiwan's January 11 presidential elections, with Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen seeking a second term against a challenger who favours warmer ties with China. — AFP

December 12, 2019

Taiwanese prosecutors have launched an investigation into travel agencies and civil groups that reportedly forged documents to help Chinese officials visit Taiwan, sparking concerns over potential national security breaches.

Taipei district prosecutors office say ten suspects were questioned and five locations raided on suspicion of falsifying identities for Chinese citizens to visit the island on "professional exchange" permits.

Prosecutors declined to disclose details of an ongoing probe. — AFP

Follow this page for updates on conflict between China and Taiwan. 

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