All posts tagged "taiwan"

Biden says 'yes' US would defend Taiwan against China

President Joe Biden says the US would defend Taiwan from China, although these appears at odds with the longtime policy of strategic ambiguity

Baltimore (AFP) - President Joe Biden on Thursday said the United States would defend Taiwan if the island were attacked by China, which considers it part of its territory.

"Yes," he responded when asked in a CNN town hall about defending Taiwan. "We have a commitment to that."

Biden's statement was at odds with the long-held US policy known as "strategic ambiguity," where Washington helps build Taiwan's defenses but does not explicitly promise to come to the island's help.

He made a similar pledge in August during an interview with ABC, insisting that the United States would always defend key allies, including Taiwan, despite the withdrawal from Afghanistan in the face of the victorious Taliban.

Biden said the United States made a "sacred commitment" to defend NATO allies in Canada and Europe and it's the "same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan."

The White House subsequently told reporters that US policy on Taiwan "has not changed."

Asked by an audience member at the live televised town hall whether the United States would be able to keep up with China's rapid military development, Biden also said, "yes."

"Don't worry about whether... they're going to be more powerful," he said. "China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we have the most powerful military in the history of the world."

However, Biden expressed concern that rival countries may "engage in activities where they may make a serious mistake."

He referred to his longtime relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and repeated his position that he does not want "to start a new Cold War with China."

But he warned, "I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back."

China has upped its sabre rattling around Taiwan, sending waves of fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers crossing into Taiwan's air defense zone.

Biden's comments also come in the wake of a Financial Times report that China has tested a state-of-the-art hypersonic missile with nuclear capacity that flew around the planet before landing, albeit not on target.

The United States and Russia are racing to develop their own hypersonic weapons, which are more difficult to defend against than existing ballistic missile arsenals.

Fast & Furious star Cena apologizes for calling Taiwan a country

'Fast & Furious 9' star John Cena has apologised for calling Taiwan a 'country' after his comments sparked outrage in mainland China

Beijing (AFP) - "Fast & Furious 9" star John Cena made a U-turn Tuesday, apologising to Chinese fans after he called Taiwan a "country" and sparked outrage in the world's largest movie market.

Beijing sees democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory which is to be seized one day, by force if necessary, and rages at any diplomatic attempts to recognise the island as an independent nation.

But American wrestling star turned actor Cena left his diplomatic lane during a trip to Taiwan in early May to promote the franchise of action movies about fast cars, making the "country" comment during a fan meet.

On Tuesday, as outrage billowed across China's social media, he released an apology on the Weibo platform in conversational-level Mandarin.

"I did many, many interviews for Fast & Furious 9, and I made a mistake during one interview," Cena said in the video, without repeating the controversial term.

"I must say, which is very very important, that I love and respect China and Chinese people. I'm very, very sorry for my mistake. I apologise."

The video was played 2.4 million times on the strictly-controlled social media site, while Chinese media leapt on the apology.

Fast & Furious 9 smashed through the box office during its May 21 release in China last weekend, raking in $148 million, according to the nationalist Global Times newspaper.

But social media users appeared only partially appeased.

"Please say 'Taiwan is part of China' in Chinese, or we won't accept it," said one Weibo handle, while another lamented the American's apparent lack of knowledge that "Taiwan is an integral part of China".

China's vast consumer market has in recent years been weaponised against critics of Beijing.

Entities including the NBA and global fashion giants have faced boycotts and a battering on social media for speaking out on rights abuses or political issues China deems off-limits.

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41 people killed in deadly train accident in eastern Taiwan

Train derailment in eastern Taiwan - Rescue members of the Keelung City Fire Department search for people who are stranded and injured in compartments after a train carrying 490 people derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien, Taiwan. At least 66 were injured and 48 others were killed, according to Taiwan’s National Fire Agency. - Keelung City Fire Department/ZUMA Wire/dpa

At least 41 people were killed in a deadly train derailment in eastern Taiwan, officials said on Friday.

An eight-carriage train with more than 350 passengers onboard appeared to have been hit by an engineering vehicle falling from a slope as it passed a tunnel in Hualien county in eastern Taiwan, according to Hualien County Fire Department.

Several carriages were severely damaged in the crash, according to footage aired on local TV.

Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang on Friday expressed his apologies to the passengers and sent his condolences to the victims' families.

"I want to express my deep sympathies to the victims’ families and to the passengers who were injured," Su told a news conference in Taipei, adding that he regretted the incident. He said he would immediately leave Taipei for Hualien.

According to the National Fire Agency, 41 people were killed and at least 66 were injured and are being treated in hospital.

The derailment occurred on the first day of a four-day break for Taiwan's annual tomb-sweeping tradition.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has instructed the authorities to continue their rescue activities and to comprehensively investigate the cause of the accident.

The last major train crash in Taiwan was in October 2018, when 18 people died.

Hundreds monitored in Taiwan after H7N9 strain of bird flu after infected tourist discovered

Taiwanese authorities are monitoring hundreds of people who may have had contact with a mainland Chinese tourist infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, officials said Wednesday.

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Thousands march in 'Asia's largest LGBT pride parade' in support of same-sex marriage

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Taiwan on Saturday in Asia's largest gay parade, organisers said, as the island's parliament was set to review a bill on same-sex marriages.

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Hundreds gather in Taiwan to support same sex marriage bill

More than 1,200 Taiwanese people joined a mock "wedding banquet" on Saturday aiming to drum up support for a same-sex marriage bill due to be sent to parliament soon, organisers said.

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Taiwanese man who had extramarital affair avoided punishment while 56-year-old lover faced 298 years in jail

A Taiwanese widow who faced the theoretical possibility of 298 years in jail for an affair with a married man has rekindled the debate over the island's controversial adultery laws.

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Taiwan upholds first transgender marriage

Taiwanese authorities have agreed to uphold the marriage status of a local transgender couple, reversing a previous official decision in a ruling activists said would help the bid to legalise same sex marriage.

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