TAIPEI, (CNA).- President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday expressed regret over the severing of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Burkina Faso, calling on all parties in the country to stand united amid China's continuing "oppression."

Meanwhile, Tsai also expressed regret that the opposition party in Taiwan continues to criticize the ruling party, while remaining tolerant of China's "oppression."

"It is regrettable that an ally has chosen to leave us, but what's even more regrettable is that internally, Taiwan fails to stand up in unity," Tsai said, following Burkina Faso's decision to cut ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Thursday.

She said the opposition party will always remain critical of the government every time China finds a way to suppress Taiwan.

In the last two years, Taiwan has seen a significant improvement in relations with the United States, Japan, and like-minded nations in Europe, she said, trends which have made China even more agitated.

"The atrocious actions by China aimed at denigrating our sovereignty are testing our bottom line," the president said, reiterating that oppression will serve only to strengthen the country's resolve to be part of the wider world.

As President, Tsai said her most important mission is to preserve the pride and dignity of the Taiwanese people, and that the country will never back down in its commitment to strengthening relationships with its allies.

She again called on all parties in Taiwan to stand up in unity as China continues to exert pressure on the country.

"We only have one stance, and that is to unite as one when confronted with outside oppression," she said.

Earlier on Friday, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) criticized the government for the rupture of relations with the African nation, saying the political ideology of President Tsai's administration has led Taiwan into a corner and instead she should apologize to the people of Taiwan for her misguided foreign policy.

KMT Spokesman Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) criticized the ruling party for not taking the responsibility for its actions, and instead choosing to put the blame on the opposition parties, including the KMT.

"Such behavior will only let the people down," Hung said.

Meanwhile, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokeswoman Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) responded to the KMT's criticism by questioning how the opposition party could side with Beijing and help the enemy fight against their own country.

The KMT, however, has pointed out that prior to the DPP coming into power, Taiwan only lost one diplomatic in the eight years of KMT rule. It is believed that China at the time refrained from establishing diplomatic ties with Taiwan's allies, even when some wanted to switch ties to mainland China, because then-President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT accepted the 1992 Consensus, under which both sides agree there is one China, with each side free to define what that means.

Hung emphasized that the DPP could not find a solution to resolving the current strained relations between the two sides of the Strait, and continues to let the country lose its diplomatic allies.

"Besides knee-jerk blaming others, can we really come up with some means to let the people understand the next steps?" Hung said. "Can't the DPP guarantee to the people that before the expiration of Tsai Ing-wen's term in office, there be no more countries breaking diplomatic relations with us? The DPP government, please face up to the problem, handle the problem, and if you fail to do so, you should take full responsibility."

(By Yeh Su-ping and Ko Lin)

TAIPEI,(CNA).- A recent survey found about 80 percent of the public disapproved of the recent moves by China to squeeze Taiwan's international space, a consensus the pollster said was supported by people irrespective of gender, age, education level, party affiliation, ethnicity, and area of residence in Taiwan.

The survey, conducted by Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, gauged people's opinion on recent developments in relations across the Taiwan Strait, among other issues, by asking how they felt about China enticing Burkina Faso to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan and demanding international airlines list Taiwan as a part of China.

According to the result, 79.1 percent of the respondents disapproved of these actions by China, with 50.2 percent expressing strong disapproval, and 11.9 percent saying the actions were appropriate. The remaining 9 percent did not give their opinion.

On the next question asking respondents whether they have confidence in President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration in terms of safeguarding Taiwan's international participation, 60.3 percent said they had no such confidence against 32.7 percent who answered positively. About 7 percent did not give their opinion.

The result showed that 68 percent of respondents in the 25-54 age group and 69 percent of respondents with a college degree or higher said they were not confident in the way the Tsai administration has handled the pressures China has been ramping up on Taiwan.

You Ying-lung (游盈隆), chairman of the polling institute, said that the results signaled a "crisis of confidence" among young and highly educated people in the Tsai administration's ability to handle diplomatic issues.

The administration needs to come up with better strategies rather than just put the blame on China or it will continue to be mired in the crisis of confidence, You said.

The survey, conducted from June 12-13, collected 1,073 valid responses. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)

TAIPEI, (NDT).- ASUSTeK Computer Inc. y Acer Inc., dos de los principales fabricantes de computadoras personales (PC, siglas en inglés) de Taiwan, fueron clasificados en el quinto y sexto lugar, respectivamente, en el primer trimestre de este año de la lista de envíos mundiales de PC, según la firma de investigación de mercado Gartner Inc.

Gartner señaló que según el estudio de mercado, ASUSTeK captó un 6,3 por ciento del mercado global de PC y envió 3,90 millones de computadoras personales en el período entre enero y marzo de este año, lo que equivale a un descenso del 12,5 por ciento interanual.

Entre tanto, Acer envió 3,82 millones de unidades durante el primer trimestre, con una cuota del 6,2 por ciento del mercado. Durante el primer trimestre, Acer experimentó un declive del 8,6 por ciento respecto al año anterior, indican las estadísticas de la citada firma de investigación.

La clasificación de Gartner no varió desde el cuarto trimestre del año pasado, pero ASUSTeK descendió un puesto con respecto al año anterior, mientras que la posición de Acer se mantuvo inalterada.

En el primer trimestre, los envíos mundiales de PC totalizaron 61,69 millones de unidades, un declive del 1,4 por ciento interanual, marcando el 14º trimestre consecutivo en descenso, según Gartner.

“El principal factor del descenso fue China continental, donde los envíos de PC disminuyeron un 5,7 por ciento interanual”, señaló Mikako Kitagawa, analista principal de Gartner.

El fabricante estadounidense HP Inc. se mantuvo como el mayor proveedor de PC del mundo, con 12,86 millones unidades enviadas en el primer trimestre, lo que equivale a un alza del 2,8 por ciento interanual y una cuota del mercado mundial del 20,8 por ciento, señaló Gartner. Le siguieron el Grupo Lenovo, de China continental, en el segundo puesto y los estadounidenses Dell Inc. y Apple Inc. en el tercer y cuarto lugar de la lista, respectivamente.
BEIJING, (RT NEWS).- In early April, reports began emerging that China was seeking to build a military base in the Pacific. Are these reports “fake news,” or are we witnessing the early stages of a regional showdown between Western powers and China?

The unsubstantiated rumor of a Chinese military base in the Pacific was first reported on by Fairfax media this month, which cited unnamed sources while affirming that no formal proposal had yet been made. However, the report stated that the prospect of a Chinese military post close to Australia had been discussed at the “highest levels in Canberra and Washington.”

According to the report, a “base less than 2000 kilometres from the Australian coast would allow China to project military power into the Pacific Ocean and upend the long-standing strategic balance in the region, potentially increasing the risk of confrontation between China and the United States.”

The prospective Pacific island nation in question is Vanuatu, a country with a noticeably close relationship with China. While the Western powers, especially Australia, have become increasingly concerned by China’s growing military capacity in the South China Sea through its reclaimed reefs and artificial islands, Vanuatu has been one of the very few countries who have openly supported Beijing’s island-building program. China has also donated military vehicles to Vanuatu, invested millions of dollars in infrastructure, and reportedly accounts for nearly half of Vanuatu’s $440 million foreign debt.

The Allies’ Response
As one can imagine, the report of a looming Chinese military base was not welcomed at all by US allies in the region, particularly New Zealand and Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time that he viewed “with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific Island countries and neighbours of ours.”

“The maintenance of peace and stability in the Pacific is of utmost importance to us, to Australia — it’s one of the key priorities of the foreign policy white paper,” the prime minister also reportedly said.

In other words, Australia may seek to use this threat to justify a renewed militaristic foreign policy strategy of its own. After all, Australia has been sending warships to the South China Sea for military exercises even as recently as last year, and even felt it necessary to openly consider sending more vessels to confront China’s expanding influence just a few months ago. Australia also facilitated the proposal for a British warship, the HMS Sutherland, to depart Australia and voyage to the South China Sea to assert its so-called “freedom of navigation rights.” The US, for its part, sent warships to the South China Sea just this past month, as well as in January of this year, saber-rattling China in the process. Not to mention that Trump’s nominee for the US ambassador to Australia is a known anti-Chinese war hawk.

In solidarity with Australia, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, also voiced her opposition to what she termed the “militarization” of the Pacific, even though she hadn’t even been formally briefed on the issue at the time.

According to a prominent New Zealand outlet, the country’s government was seeking further information on the report and considering ways to respond. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, a notorious anti-Chinese politician who just about rattles Chinese people any chance he gets, also said there are a “number of players doing certain things in the Pacific that are not good for the peace and security” of the Pacific. He also believed that it was time for New Zealand to “step up” and “do a whole lot more in the Pacific.”

In March of this year, Peters spoke about the Pacific becoming a “contested strategic space” which was “creating a degree of strategic anxiety.” He also vowed to pour more money and resources in the Pacific region, further indicating that New Zealand would back away from supporting China’s monumental Silk Road project even after New Zealand’s former government had already signed a memorandum of understanding in support of the project.

All this being said, both Vanuatu and China have already heavily denied the veracity of the report, rejecting the claim that China will be building a military base in Vanuatu.

“No one in the Vanuatu government has ever talked about a Chinese military base in Vanuatu of any sort,” Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu, told Australian media. “We are a non-aligned country. We are not interested in militarisation.”

By way of confirmation, China also referred to the statements from the Vanuatu Foreign Ministry, which China believed had “cleared the record.” China even referred to the report as “fake news.”

Washington irked by China’s purported ambitions

Some of you may be wondering, if both Vanuatu and China have openly denied the story, then so what? Case closed, right?

As of now, China maintains only one foreign military base in the world, being in the Horn of Africa’s Djibouti. Allegedly, the establishment of this base represents the “first pearl of a necklace” unfolding along a sea route that will connect China to the Middle East.

According to the Diplomat, there are also “credible reports” of further plans to establish naval or military facilities in locations such as Timor-Leste, the Azores islands (Portugal) in the middle of the North Atlantic, Walvis Bay (Namibia) in the South Atlantic, and Gwadar (Pakistan), with other initiatives that may not have come to light as yet (including, for example, Sri Lanka).

Regarding Pakistan, unnamed Chinese military officials first told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that Beijing was looking to build a naval base in Gwadar Port in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. Almost immediately, both Pakistan and China rejected these reports, even though the speculation initially came from Chinese military officials and not from the Western media. Sound familiar?

Back to the issue at hand, Fairfax’s report clearly indicated that Beijing’s military ambition in Vanuatu “would likely be realized incrementally,” perhaps taking shape with an “access agreement that would allow Chinese naval ships to dock routinely and be serviced, refueled and restocked.”

The report also makes note of the fact that China has invested heavily in a major new wharf on the north island of Espiritu Santo, which allegedly “raised eyebrows in defence, intelligence and diplomatic circles” in Australia because it has the potential to service naval vessels as well as commercial ones (Vanuatu already hosted Chinese warships throughout last year).

And here is where it gets interesting. Luganville, on the island of Espiritu Santo, actually housed one of the largest military bases in the entire Pacific battle theatre during World War II. Its geostrategic significance cannot be understated. Whoever controls Vanuatu controls the air and sea route between the United States and Australia. This is a deal-breaker not just for the United States, but for its local lackey-states Australia and New Zealand, who act as regional care-takers for Washington’s foreign policy interests.

Double standards, hypocrisy and the road to war
Nonetheless, it is the United States that currently boasts approximately 1,000 military bases worldwide, including military research bases located in the Pacific region. The US also maintains a military budget so astronomical it far exceeds that of China. Despite this, one would be hard-pressed to find any instances of a New Zealand or Australian government criticizing the American military presence in the Pacific (or its presence on the wider global chessboard in general).

A report last year by Commander Thomas Shugart and Commander Javier Gonzalez at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suggested that these US bases were becoming deeply vulnerable to attack by China’s ballistic missile capabilities, which could cripple US military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region while using only a fraction of its arsenal should a confrontation emerge.

Though little regard is paid to it by the media, there’s a reason Australia and the US continue to send warships to the South China Sea. It’s the same reason China has responded with live-fire military exercises that began in the Taiwan Strait this week, as China sets out to prove that it is a force to be reckoned with in the region.

Despite New Zealand and Australia’s fear-based position on this issue, it should be borne in mind that there are alternative options to the dispute which could prove far more beneficial for regional security than our current trajectory. As The Diplomat’s David Brewster explained:

“Whether or not this reported proposal in Vanuatu comes to pass (and it seems less likely than more), Australia needs to better understand – and deal with – China’s growing interests in the South Pacific. If Australia sees itself as a regional leader, then it needs to show leadership in avoiding militarization of South Pacific. Rather than hoping to lock China out, Australia should be exploring ways of working with China that address some of its concerns in a manner that does not adversely affect Australia’s clear strategic interests. These issues are not going to go away.”

If only the West will heed Brewster’s much needed advice, the region might avert a heavily anticipated catastrophe.

Darius Shahtahmasebi for RT

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand based legal and political analyst. Follow him on Twitter @TVsLeaking

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

TAIPEI, (CNA).- Taiwan is the last fortress of democracy and free speech of the Chinese-speaking world, exiled Chinese writer Pan Yongzhong (潘永忠) said at a book launch in Taipei on Saturday.

Pan, better known by the pseudonym Tian Mu (田牧), said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has essentially cut off all Chinese-speaking channels to the outside world so that there can be no understanding of the Taiwan government or its voice of justice and conscience.

China's sharp power in the world is pervasive, Tian Mu said at the launch of his new book "The Forbidden Garden -- Censorship in China."

However, he said, not all of the 40 million overseas Chinese support Beijing's policies, and many of them care a lot about the future of Taiwan.

In particular, dissidents in exile "hope that Taiwan will stand firm" against the pressure, Tian Mu said.

The existence of Taiwan's political system, model and values puts pressure on the CCP's despotism, he said.

Also speaking at the book launch, Tienchi Martin-Liao (廖天琪), director of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), suggested that Taiwan use its wisdom and soft power to break through Beijing's lockdown.

While Beijing may seem mighty, Taiwan is an important part of the international community, and "if the international community does not recognize us or gives up on us, that is their problem, not ours," said Martin-Liao, whose center organized the book launch.

Taiwan can speak up for itself internationally through its non-governmental groups and overseas civil organizations and social media, she added.

(By Miao Zong-han and Kuan-lin Liu)

TAIPEI, (CNA).- The Kinmen Defense Command held a military drill Sunday to test the amphibious warfare capabilities of special forces troops and operations across multiple-position areas for the artillery regiment.

During the exercise, several scenarios were simulated by the underwater operations unit of the amphibious reconnaissance team, including close contact with the enemy, a series of assaults mounted against the enemy, and evacuations amid an exchange of gunfire, according to the ROC Army Aviation and Special Forces Command (AASFC).

The purpose of the simulations was to strengthen the key competence of the elite commandos in terms of infiltration tactics involving special forces troops advancing into enemy lines, operational training for command, and ordnance explosion, said Capt. Chu Cheng-nan (朱程楠) of the AASFC's Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion.

The exercise also featured defensive operations in combat training by simulating a scenario in which artillerymen were ordered to have four 3.5-ton heavy-duty trucks towing four 105mm howitzers installed in a designated area assigned by a commander and to have them operational within a specified time.

According to a military officer, the operation was completed in 19 minutes, two minutes ahead of the passing score of 21 minutes.

The drill followed the annual Han Kuang live-fire military drills from June 4-8 that focused on joint anti-airborne operations at Ching Chuan Kang air base in Taichung.

(By You Kai-hsiang and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

Photo: CNA

TAIPEI,(CNA).-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has asked World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to let Taiwan help stop the spread of Ebola, an issue that he brought up on a social media platform the day before, according to MOFA on Friday.

Ghebreyesus posted on his Twitter account on Thursday that the "Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo required scaling up international efforts to stop it.

MOFA retweeted the post on Friday and added its own message, citing Taiwan's experience with fighting the disease.

"Taiwan fought Ebola in 2014 in West Africa. It runs an Asia Pacific infectious diseases training center and virus workshops with the U.S. under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework," the tweet read.

The ministry ended with a direct call to Ghebreyesus to let Taiwan help, noting that there is no time for China's political agenda.

This was the latest effort by Taiwan to have its voice heard on global health matters even after it has been blocked by Beijing, for the second year in a row, from attending the World Health Assembly.

The deadline to register for this year's meeting, which opens in Geneva on Monday, has passed with Taipei not receiving an invitation.

Taiwan plans to send a delegation to Geneva nonetheless and hold bilateral exchanges with other countries on the sidelines of the meeting.

MOFA's tweet is the latest move in Taiwan's attempt to participate in the World Health Organization's international initiatives to combat diseases and provide quality health care.

Taiwan has also asked its allies to voice support for the WHO to let Taiwan participate in the meeting.

(By Kuan-lin Liu and Elaine Hou)

TAIPEI, (CNA).- Taiwan will continue to show goodwill toward mainland China, but that does not mean the government will do so "without limit," Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said on Thursday.

"Should Taiwan's security and social stability be threatened, we will do whatever is necessary to deal with various contingencies," Chen said during an informal meeting with reporters.

"Although China has yet to respond to Taiwan's goodwill and has even stepped-up its saber-rattling in a bid to force Taiwan to accept its political preconditions, Taiwan has its own strategy and will not yield to pressure," he said.

Stressing that "the government will not take the old path of confrontation," Chen hailed President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) efforts to maintain the status-quo across the Taiwan Strait.

He voiced hope that the two sides can sit down and work to resolve differences based on the principle of reciprocity with no political preconditions.

Chen made the comment in response to remarks made on Wednesday by Liu Jieyi (劉結一), head of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, that Taiwan should support the "1992 consensus" -- a tacit agreement reached between Taiwan and the mainland in 1992 that there is only "one China" and each side is free to interpret what it means.

Beijing insists the consensus serve as the political foundation for cross-strait exchange, but Tsai, who assumed office in May, 2016, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that she leads refuse to accept it, stalling cross-strait ties.

"Given that Taiwan has had heated debate over the term for many years, it is not pragmatic to conduct cross-strait exchanges based on a controversial term," Chen said, stressing that "it is better to promote bilateral interactions based on terms contained in the Republic of China Constitution and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

(By Miao Zong-han and Flor Wang)