The Taiwan Ministry of Defense reports that dozens of Chinese military aircraft enter the air defense zone for the second time in a week. Biden has previously said that Beijing is “playing with fire” and the PRC has promised any measures to prevent separation of Taiwan from the country
Thursday, June 23, 22 Chinese People's Liberation Army aircraft (PLA) entered Taiwan's air defense zone, according to the island's Ministry of Defense.
The island was approached by:
- two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft;
- two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft;
- Y-8 electronic reconnaissance aircraft;
- ten J-16 fighters;
- five JH-7 fighter-bombers ;
- two H-6 strategic bombers.
Two days earlier, on June 21, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense reported that at least 29 Chinese military aircraft had entered the air defense zone.
Taiwan is located about 150 km from the coast of China. In 1949, the territory announced its separation from the country, but Beijing did not recognize this decision and considers the island one of the provinces of the PRC. The Russian authorities, like the United States, support the principle of one China. The United States has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but Washington has been selling arms to Taipei under a 1979 relations law. At the same time, the United States maintains official relations with China.
In late May, US President Joe Biden said that Beijing was “playing with fire by flying close [to Taiwan] and doing all these maneuvers.” While Washington has a “one-China policy,” it does not mean that “the PRC has the right to use force to seize Taiwan,” he stressed, and signaled the United States' readiness to defend the island in accordance with its obligations if China decides to seize it.
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded by protesting and calling Taiwan “an integral part of China's territory.” Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said that the Chinese army will go to any lengths to prevent Taiwan from separating from the country.
On June 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping authorized the use of the army for non-military operations, in order to protect China's sovereignty, “the interests development of the country and stability. The Global Times, citing a military expert, wrote that this would allow the military to provide assistance in natural disasters, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. However, Radio Free Asia admitted that in this way Beijing could be preparing to invade Taiwan under the guise of a “special operation” that is not classified as a war.
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US pledges to support Taiwanese allies, while Japan points to Ukraine
China will “start a war” if Taiwan declares independence, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said. The Chinese military chief issued a threat against Taipei at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore, while the Japanese prime minister refers to Ukraine by announcing a defense boost.
Photo: Global Look Press
Beijing “will not hesitate to go to war at any cost” if Taiwan declares independence, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe told his US counterpart Lloyd Austin when they met on the sidelines Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting in Singapore.
According to The Guardian, the Pentagon chief called on China to “refrain from further destabilizing actions” against Taiwan, according to a US statement released after the first round of talks between the two ministers.
Taiwan's foreign ministry condemned China's “absurd” claims to the island's sovereignty and thanked the US for showing support. “Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government, and the people of Taiwan will not succumb to forceful threats from the Chinese government,” said Department of Defense spokeswoman Joanne Ou.
The US Department of Defense said that Lloyd Austin “confirmed the importance peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait area, opposing unilateral changes in the status quo, and called on China to refrain from further destabilizing actions against Taiwan.”
Tensions around Taiwan escalated, in particular, due to an increase in the number of Chinese aircraft incursions into the island's air defense identification zone (ADZ). President Joe Biden said during a visit to Japan in May that Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China. Since then, the White House has insisted that its policy of “strategic uncertainty” about whether it will intervene has not changed.
In a speech at the Shangri-La summit on Saturday, Austin criticized China's “provocative and destabilizing” military activity near Taiwan and said the US would do everything possible to manage tensions with China and prevent conflict, despite Beijing is becoming increasingly aggressive in the Asia-Pacific region. region. He said the US will continue to support its allies, including Taiwan.
“This is especially important as the PRC is taking a more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims,” Austin said. According to the Pentagon chief, there has been an “alarming” increase in the number of unsafe and unprofessional collisions of Chinese aircraft and ships with aircraft and ships of other countries.
A senior Chinese military officer called Austin's speech “confrontational”.
Earlier, Wei Fenghe reportedly told Austin that Beijing would “destroy any Taiwan independence plot and strongly support the reunification of the motherland.”
With rising concerns over tensions between China and Taiwan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a keynote speech at the summit that his government would consider launching a pre-emptive strike because “today's Ukraine could become tomorrow's East Asia.”
The Japanese premier said that the world should be “ready for the emergence of an organization that violates the peace and security of other countries by force or threat without respect for the rules.” He did not specifically name China in his address, but he repeatedly called for the maintenance of a “rules-based international order.”
Kishida said that by next spring, he will lay out a “free and open plan for peace in the Indo-Pacific” in which Japan will provide development assistance, patrol boats, maritime law enforcement and other assistance to countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to of self-defense.
Japan will provide such support to at least 20 countries, train at least 800 maritime security personnel, and provide about $2 billion in aid over the next three years, he said.
Premier Kishida told his audience that strengthening Japan's defenses would be transparent and within its constitution. He said that the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region is deteriorating due to rising tensions in the East and South China Seas and around Taiwan.
Russian actions in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear weapons have worsened the situation, but this the trend needs to be reversed, Kishida said: “I must admit that the path to a world without nuclear weapons has become even more difficult.”
The Japanese premier described North Korea's repeated launches of ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the development of nuclear weapons as a serious threat to regional peace and stability. “The non-transparent military build-up, including nuclear arsenals, around Japan has become a major regional security issue,” he said.
The threat could harm nonproliferation efforts, as nuclear weapon owners would become reluctant, Kishida said. abandon it, and others will want to develop it.
As in the case of Taiwan, China and the United States were at loggerheads over events in Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of tacitly supporting Moscow in this conflict. China has called for talks on a cessation of hostilities but has refrained from condemning Russia's actions and has repeatedly criticized US arms sales to Ukraine. China's extensive claims in the South China Sea have also heightened tensions with Washington.
“The United States will not be able to prevent the reunification of the mainland with the island”
The United States of America has promised to do everything to prevent mainland China from reuniting with Taiwan. Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, said this recently, speaking at a conference of the Economic Club of Washington. Military expert Yevgeny Linin commented to MK how the situation around Taiwan could affect the course of the Russian military special operation to protect the DPR and LPR.
Sullivan, speaking of the prospects for reunification of the PRC and Taiwan, said: “Our government policy is that we will take all possible measures to ensure that this never happens.” In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stressed that mainland China and Taiwan will certainly be united. According to the diplomat, Beijing will make every effort to ensure that this reunification is achieved peacefully.
“China faces a very difficult task of restoring its sovereignty over Taiwan,” said Yevgeny Linin. – Taiwan is a disputed territory with high-tech production. It produces about 80 percent of the world's production of processors and electronics. And, of course, for China, technologically advanced Taiwan will be of great help in its economic war with the United States. And such a war is already underway. You can close your eyes to it, you can open it.
– China is actively exploring Russia's experience in conducting a special operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. Chinese intelligence services, under the guise of journalists, are present from both sides, both from the Donbass and from Ukraine. Practically everywhere: on the line of contact, in infrastructure communications areas. The experience they receive, I think, will be studied in sufficient detail and subsequently applied.
– The United States today is an “overstretched empire.” They are trying to control the whole world. All economic, industrial, technological world processes are under the hegemony of the United States. But their means, for example, sanctions and other measures of economic influence, which they use to resolve emerging conflicts, are already weakly working.
– Clearly, the measures they can take to limit China's actions against Taiwan cannot be of a military nature. Rather, everything will be limited to the presence of the US Navy, their moral support and, possibly, the presence of American mercenaries in Taiwan. But no more.
China has a full-fledged nuclear triad – ground-based, air-based and submarine-based nuclear missiles. This is the second country after Russia that can cause serious damage to the United States. America cannot afford to fight with a country that has nuclear weapons.
Therefore, only the same measures that the United States is currently using against Russia can be applied to China by the United States. Nothing more. But, in the case of Russia, Europe is on their side. In the case of China, the Europeans are likely to remain neutral.
– Nothing can prevent China from doing this now. The situation for them is more than favorable. China has one of the most powerful armies and one of the most powerful navies in the world. They practically have the second fleet in the world, after the US Navy. The Chinese are launching one ship a month from the stocks. Moreover, these are not some ships of the second and third ranks, but full-fledged destroyers of the 1st rank.
– Americans are not distracted by China. In fact, Americans don't get distracted by anyone at all. They play on their own field and by their own rules. They have enough resources to represent their interests in Ukraine and take an indirect part in the special operation. And they will also have enough resources to participate in the conflict with China. The only risk for them can be direct participation in the conflict on the side of one of the states. This puts the US at risk. And they will not agree to this.
Speaking of the long-term prospects, these two “hot spots” – Ukraine and Taiwan – will cast doubt on the ability of the United States to solve something with the help of force or with the help of economic pressure. The world is already taking on a block form. Russia and China are no longer part of a single world financial system, managed by the US Federal Reserve System and the International Monetary Fund.
Any involvement of the United States in the conflict – indirect, indirect, direct – weakens them from a political point of view. Countries that will see this will begin to leave their zone of influence. This will not happen quickly, but the United States, one way or another, will lose the role of hegemon.
The authorities of the island not controlled by Beijing are alarmed because of the situation in Ukraine
Taiwan authorities fear an invasion from China against the background of the Russian military special operation of Russia on the territory of Ukraine. Such data is provided by the CNN channel.
Despite the fact that Beijing has repeatedly denied the possibility of a military scenario for the return of Taiwan, the concerns of the island's authorities have increased significantly due to the situation in Ukraine.
Taipei's concern has increased due to pressure from Beijing in the past few months. For example, the Chinese military recently conducted naval and air exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
In addition, a record number of Chinese military aircraft were seen near the island last year.
Against this background, Taiwan has accelerated preparations for a possible conflict with Beijing. In 2022, Taipei allocated a record amount to defense for defense, and about $ 9 billion more will be allocated for these purposes in the next 5 years.
Also, the island authorities have introduced a tougher schedule for military training of reservists. Now the exercises for them will last 14 days instead of seven.
At the same time, a number of local politicians called for an increase in the period of compulsory military training for men of military age from four months to one year. In turn, they plan to train women in logistics.
At the same time, experts interviewed by the TV channel consider the option of China's invasion of Taiwan unlikely. The island is the largest producer of semiconductor chips, which are used in the production of a huge number of products around the world, from phones to cars.
The fighting in Taiwan, they believe, will deal a serious blow to the global economy and provoke a sharp reaction from the international community .
China’s health officials have confirmed the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Hubei province has reached 549, with 19,665 cases of infection.
- Wuhan has been the location of nearly 60 per cent of all new cases in the Hubei province
- The virus has disrupted air travel, with more than two dozen airlines suspending flights to China
- The virus was first identified in Wuhan and is believed to have originated at a seafood market in the city
The province, which has been the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 70 new deaths and 2,987 new confirmed cases, the local health commission said.
Hubei has been in near-total lockdown for almost two weeks, with its train stations and airports shut and its roads sealed off.
The coronavirus was first identified in Hubei’s provincial capital of Wuhan and is believed to have originated at a seafood market in the city.
The daily death toll on Wednesday (local time) was higher than the 65 reported on the previous day, though the number of new cases fell slightly.
The province’s healthcare infrastructure has come under heavy pressure as a result of the epidemic.
The commission said as many as 14,314 people were still undergoing treatment, with 2,328 still in a serious condition.
Medical equipment shortage
Wuhan has continued to bear the brunt of the virus, and has been the location of nearly 60 per cent of all the province’s new cases.
The death rate so far has also been significantly higher in Wuhan than in the rest of the country, suggesting that the total number of cases might have been under-reported, with the city trying to diagnose thousands of patients despite a shortage of medical equipment and hospital beds.
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The virus has disrupted air travel, with more than two dozen airlines suspending or restricting flights to China and several countries, including Australia and the United States, banning the entry of any non-permanent residents who have been in China recently.
Hong Kong said all visitors from mainland China would be quarantined for two weeks, while Taiwan banned the entry of mainland residents from Thursday.
However, the World Health Organisation has advised against trade and travel restrictions.
Global airlines, including in Australia, have suspended or scaled back direct flights to China’s major cities.
Last week, Qantas announced it would suspend flights to mainland China from February 9 until March 29.
A further 10 people on board a cruise ship that has been quarantined at Yokohama in Japan have tested positive to coronavirus.
Almost 4,000 passengers are in lockdown on the Diamond Princess, which is being reloaded with food, medicine and masks.
Ten people — including two Australians — on board the ship tested positive for the virus and were taken off yesterday.
A further 10 passengers tested positive today, including four people from Japan, one from Taiwan, two Americans, two Canadians and one from New Zealand.
Jeremy Fernandez will host a 30-minute special on coronavirus on Friday, February 7 from 7.30pm AEDT on the ABC News Channel, featuring a guest panel, explainers on how the virus unfolded and myth-busting the misinformation. The special will be repeated on ABC TV at 10:00pm.
More on the coronavirus outbreak:
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The first 185 passengers to fly direct from Shanghai to Perth arrived at Perth Airport this morning, but a China expert is warning Beijing’s track record means their patronage could come with a catch.
- China Eastern Airlines will fly between Shanghai and Perth three times a week
- Tourism WA allocated $1 million to market WA in Shanghai ahead of the trial
- But China expert Jie Chen says there are risks in doing tourism deals with China
The flight is part of a month-long trial with state-owned China Eastern Airlines, who will fly between the cities three times a week.
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he expected the trial would provide a major boost the local economy.
“These flights will bring in around 3,000 or so additional visitors and $15 million of spend,” he said.
But UWA China expert Jie Chen said any state making arrangements with China must be aware that what the Chinese Communist Party gave in terms of tourism deals, it could also take away.
“China being a party state is quite different from let’s say India,” he said.
“We get a lot of tourists from India, a lot of students from India, you don’t have to worry whether the Indian Government itself was capable of using this as some sort of diplomatic or political weapon, but the Chinese Government can do that.
“That’s the concern, that’s the issue that makes China different from the other major sources of international students and tourism to Australia in general, to WA in particular.”
Associate Professor Chen cited the example of the tiny pacific nation of Palau, which experienced a dramatic rise and then fall in Chinese tourist numbers in 2017.
Analysts suggested Palau’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan were to blame for Beijing effectively banning Chinese people from Palau.
Associate Professor Chen said Taiwanese tourist operators had recently experienced similar market manipulation, but said WA was at a low risk of such action.
“Just on the basis of regional experiences, hypothetically you can’t rule out a scenario [in WA] where dependency can breed political, diplomatic leverage or issues which can be used as leverage by the Chinese Government,” he said.
Mr Papalia said he rejected any suggestion WA was vulnerable to fluctuations in Chinese visitor numbers.
“Melbourne has 14 direct flights a day from China, Sydney has 12 direct flights a day from China,” he said.
“If anyone is vulnerable to the Chinese market changing or fluctuating, it is Sydney and Melbourne, not Perth.
“It’d be great if we get bigger numbers of tourists but we’re not in any way compromised by seeking more flights from China.”
WA Government pays for media coverage
The State Government’s tourism authority, Tourism WA, has allocated $1 million to market WA in Shanghai ahead of the trial.
Unusually, the Government also paid for a journalist and camera operator from 7 News Perth to fly with Mr Papalia to Shanghai to promote the first flight to Perth.
In a statement, a WA Government spokesman confirmed the arrangement.
“In conjunction with China Eastern Airlines, Tourism WA paid for one reporter and camera operator to cover the inaugural direct flight from Shanghai to Perth,” the spokesman said.
Mr Papalia brushed off questions about the free tickets.
“It’s a normal arrangement for Tourism WA to engage with media, with journalists … they do it all the time with all channels, all media outlets,” he said.
The flight trial will end on February 17 and there are no guarantees it will be extended.
Trial ‘already a success’: Papalia
Earlier this week, the Government announced Mr Papalia, who was on the inaugural flight, was in China meeting China Eastern Airlines staff in a bid to turn the trial into an ongoing service.
“This trial’s already a success,” he said when asked how the success of the trial would be measured.
“Overall the average sale numbers is 83 per cent of seats available.
“If you remove the three return flights at the end of the trial, taking people back without bringing people over, it is actually 94 per cent sold.
“That is an extraordinary outcome, acknowledged as such by the executives from China Eastern yesterday.
“We’ve just got to keep working with them.
“Airlines are risk averse, it’s difficult to get airlines, it took us a couple of years to get ANA (All Nippon Airways) and that was an incredible outcome.”
Return economy fares will be priced from $698.
It is expected tourists flying from Shanghai to Perth will want to visit the Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake and Rottnest Island.