China Launches Satellite Amid Election Tensions in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has issued an alert regarding China’s launch of a satellite, just days before the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan. China has framed the elections as a choice between war and peace. The alert, sent as a bilingual message to residents’ mobile phones, initially warned about a missile flyover in faulty English translation. However, the Defense Ministry later clarified that it was a rocket carrying a satellite, not a missile.

According to the ministry, the Chinese rocket passed over southern Taiwan at a high altitude. Chinese state media reported that the satellite, named Einstein, was successfully launched with a Long March 2C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. The launch received coverage on CCTV, which confirmed that the satellite had entered orbit.

Curiously, the mobile alerts interrupted an international news conference by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. Nevertheless, Wu addressed the situation, comforting journalists by explaining that it was indeed a satellite launch. He urged everyone to remain responsible and moderate in order to prevent any conflict between Taiwan and China from escalating.

In the midst of the alert, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who happened to be in the southern city of Kaohsiung at the time, reassured the public not to worry, as reported by local media.

Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province that must be brought under its control. In recent months, China has escalated its military harassment of the island, frequently sending military vessels and aircraft near its vicinity. Despite Taiwan’s complaints, China has even flown surveillance balloons near the island. China has made its disdain for Vice President William Lai of the Democratic Progressive Party, the frontrunner in Taiwan’s presidential election, apparent. On the contrary, China favors the more China-friendly Kuomintang, also known as the Nationalist Party, whose presidential candidate is Hou Yu-ih. Another candidate, Ko Wen-je, from the smaller Taiwan People’s Party, is also running in the election.

In conclusion, China’s satellite launch has triggered an alert in Taiwan just days before the presidential and parliamentary elections. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry issued the alert to caution residents, which initially contained a faulty English translation. The satellite launch passed over southern Taiwan, and Chinese state media confirmed its success. Taiwanese officials, including the Foreign Minister and President Tsai Ing-wen, assured the public not to worry and called for responsible actions to prevent any potential conflict with China. China’s increased military harassment of Taiwan in recent months has further heightened tensions, as Beijing continues to favor the more China-friendly political party in Taiwan’s election.