Taiwan issues alert after Chinese satellite detected in its southern airspace

Public TV English
4 Min Read

TAIPEI: Taiwanese security forces issued a nationwide air raid alert after a Chinese satellite flew over its southern airspace on Tuesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence informed.

Later, on Tuesday, the Ministry stated that the armed forces’ joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system are closely monitoring the situation, including the launch and trajectory of the satellite.

Taking to its official handle on X, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry posted, “The air raid alert system was activated in the form of text messages to inform the public. The default English message was not revised and therefore incorrectly stated the launch vehicle as “missile.” The MND extends an apology for any confusion this may have caused.”

“On 1503 hr today, the PRC conducted a satellite launch. The trajectory unexpectedly flew over and went exoatmospheric when the vehicle was above Taiwan’s southern airspace,” it added.

The development assumes significance, as it comes just days ahead of Taiwan’s presidential and parliamentary elections on January 13. Beijing has described the upcoming elections as a choice between “war and peace”.

Earlier, in his New Year address, President Xi Jinping reiterated that China would “surely be reunified” with the self-ruled territory of Taiwan, renewing Beijing’s threat to militarily take over the island but setting no timetable for gaining control, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.

“China will surely be reunified, and all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose,” Xi said in his annual address, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

William Lai, who currently serves as vice president of the ruling Democratic People’s Party, is the presidential front-runner, but China considers him a ‘separatist’ and has accused him and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen of trying to provoke a Chinese attack on the island.

Taiwan split from China amid a civil war in 1949, but Beijing continues to regard the island as Chinese territory and has long coveted Taiwan’s technology-heavy economy even as the island governs itself. China has regularly sent fighter jets on flights in airspace close to the island and warships near Taiwanese waters, VoA reported.

Under its ‘One-China’ policy, the United States recognizes that China claims Taiwan as its own, but has continued to ship weapons to Taiwan. Washington describes its policy as ‘strategic ambiguity’ although President Joe Biden has periodically said the US would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. White House officials later said there was no change in US policy.

Xi’s New Year’s remarks were open to interpretation as to Beijing’s intentions, according to VoA. Earlier, on December 30, Chen Binhua, the spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai a “destroyer of peace” following a televised debate earlier that day in which Lai defended Taiwan’s right to rule itself as a democracy.

Chen said Lai’s remarks at the debate were “full of confrontational thinking,” adding that the vice president is “the instigator of a potentially dangerous war in the Taiwan Strait”.

Lai said during the debate that Taiwan was not subordinate to China and that he was open to talks with Beijing “as long as there is equality and dignity on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

Lai does not describe himself as seeking independence from Beijing because he already considers Taiwan an independent country. His electoral rivals include Hou Yu-ih from the China-friendly Kuomintang Party and Ko Wen-Je from the Taiwan People’s Party, VoA reported. (ANI)

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