U.S. increases support for Taiwan, China threatens to strike back

By Ben Blanchard and Yew Lun Tian

By Ben Blanchard and Yew Lun Tian

TAIPEI/BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has signed into law an act that requires increased U.S. support for Taiwan internationally, prompting a denunciation by China, which said it would strike back if the law was implemented.

China claims democratic and separately ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and regularly describes Taiwan as the most sensitive issue in its ties with the United States.

While the United States, like most countries, has no official relations with Taiwan, the Trump administration has ramped up backing for the island, with arms sales and laws to help Taiwan deal with pressure from China.

The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, signed by Trump into law on Thursday with strong bipartisan support, requires the U.S. State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic relations.

It also requires the United States to "alter" engagement with nations that undermine Taiwan's security or prosperity.

Taiwan complains that China is poaching the dwindling number of countries that maintain formal ties with Taipei and has prevented it from participating in bodies like the World Health Organization.

China says Taiwan is merely one of its provinces, with no right to the trappings of a state.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen posted a picture on her Twitter page of Taiwan's flag fluttering next to the U.S. one under the words "Friends in freedom, partners in prosperity", to welcome Trump's signing of the law.

It was "a testament to Taiwan-U.S. friendship & mutual support as we work together to address global threats to human health & our shared democratic values", she wrote in English.


'RESOLUTE STRIKE'

China has stepped up its military drills around Taiwan in recent weeks despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, which emerged in a central Chinese province late last year and spread rapidly in China and beyond.

Taiwan says China should focus more on fighting the disease than menacing it.

China is already angry about U.S. accusations it poorly handled the coronavirus outbreak, and the new law adds to Sino-U.S. tension.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the U.S. act contravened international law, was a "crude" interference in China's internal affairs and obstructed other sovereign states from developing normal relations with China.

"We urge the United States to correct its mistakes, not implement the law, or obstruct the development of relations between other countries and China, otherwise it will inevitably encounter a resolute strike back by China," Geng said, without giving details.

One of the authors of the act, Senator Cory Gardner, said it was needed to respond to Chinese pressure on, and bullying of, Taiwan.

"This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan," he said in a statement.

The United States has been particularly concerned about China hiving off Taiwan's allies in the Pacific and Latin America, areas of the world Washington traditionally considers its zone of influence.

Taiwan now only has diplomatic relations with 15 countries, almost all small and developing nations like Nauru, Belize and Honduras.


(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

  • Coronavirus and Sex: What You Should Know About Intimacy During The Covid-19 Pandemic
    News
    News18

    Coronavirus and Sex: What You Should Know About Intimacy During The Covid-19 Pandemic

    What are the risks associated with sex in the time of coronavirus? An experts answers all questions and gives some do's and don'ts.

  • The Coronavirus Lockdown Has Cricketers Cooking, Cleaning – And Also Working Out
    News
    HuffPost India

    The Coronavirus Lockdown Has Cricketers Cooking, Cleaning – And Also Working Out

    Cricketers across the world are home as the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020is postponed and India is under a lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Using coronavirus, Pakistan rakes up Kashmir issue at UN
    News
    Oneindia

    Using coronavirus, Pakistan rakes up Kashmir issue at UN

    New Delhi, Mar 30: Pakistan has yet again raked up the Kashmir issue and this time the country has linked it to the coronavirus outbreak. Pakistan's Foreign Office made public the letter written by its foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to

  • Italy launched “hug a Chinese” campaign to fight coronavirus induced racism
    News
    The Indian Express

    Italy launched “hug a Chinese” campaign to fight coronavirus induced racism

    Coronavirus induced racism against Asian looking people has been widely written and debated about. It has become one of the major cultural fallouts of the pandemic across the globe.

  • Dad and daughter die from coronavirus just hours apart
    News
    Yahoo News

    Dad and daughter die from coronavirus just hours apart

    The dad worked at a major airport, and his daughter worked at a busy hospital.

  • Tollywood actor Nithiin's wedding called off amidst COVID-19 lockdown
    News
    The News Minute

    Tollywood actor Nithiin's wedding called off amidst COVID-19 lockdown

    The actor had planned to get married to Shalini, his long-time girlfriend, at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai on April 15.

  • Chandigarh: 29-year-old NRI from Canada arrested for violating curfew
    News
    The Indian Express

    Chandigarh: 29-year-old NRI from Canada arrested for violating curfew

    The accused was identified as Sidhaq Singh Sandhu, whose family resides in Sector 10. He landed in India from Canada on March 19. Sources said he had landed at the Amritsar airport.

  • News
    ANI

    UP moving towards community transmission, warns state health secretary

    Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Mar 31 (ANI): The number of COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh climbed to 101 and the state is moving towards community transmission, state's Principal Health Secretary Amit Mohan warned on Tuesday. Most of the cases have come from two clusters--Gautam Budh Nagar and Meerut," Mohan said while addressing a press conference."We are moving towards the community transmission phase of COVID-19. Mohan said that the Chief Minister has decided that in every district, an officer of the health department should be made the nodal officer so that COVID-19 can be stopped under any circumstances.

  • Telangana Man Who Visited Nizamuddin Was Only Tested For Coronavirus After His Death
    News
    HuffPost India

    Telangana Man Who Visited Nizamuddin Was Only Tested For Coronavirus After His Death

    Hyderabad, TELANGANA -- On March 27 Telangana announced its first COVID-19related death; but the patient had no recent history of foreign travel, nodocumented contact with someone who had travelled abroad, and no establishedexposure to anyone known to be carrying the virus.

  • ‘Don’t Know What to Do’: Europe's Hospitals Among the Best But Can't Handle Coronavirus Pandemic
    News
    News18

    ‘Don’t Know What to Do’: Europe's Hospitals Among the Best But Can't Handle Coronavirus Pandemic

    As cases began picking up speed in the UK in early March, Pankhania and others desperately pleaded for call centers to be transformed into contact tracing hubs.

  • COVID-19 Karnataka wrap: Man under home quarantine commits suicide
    News
    The Indian Express

    COVID-19 Karnataka wrap: Man under home quarantine commits suicide

    The man had returned from Mumbai to his native village at Shravanabelagola for the Ugadi festival.

  • COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why
    News
    The Indian Express

    COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why

    Major cities in India, China, the United States, Italy, Spain, and the UK have experienced lower levels of toxic emissions and improved air quality since the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

  • 80 of 124 COVID-19 Cases in TN Connected  to Tablighi Delhi Event
    News
    The Quint

    80 of 124 COVID-19 Cases in TN Connected to Tablighi Delhi Event

    Eighty of the 124 COVID-19 positive cases in Tamil Nadu are connected to the Tabliighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi.

  • Coronavirus Outbreak: Wimbledon likely to be cancelled, feels two-time mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray
    News
    Firstpost

    Coronavirus Outbreak: Wimbledon likely to be cancelled, feels two-time mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray

    Jamie Murray, the brother of two-time Wimbledon singles champion Andy Murray was asked whether he thinks a cancellation is more likely than a postponement

  • 'He Has Become a Public Health Problem': Rivals Tell Brazil's Bolsonaro to Quit Over Coronavirus 'Crimes'
    News
    News18

    'He Has Become a Public Health Problem': Rivals Tell Brazil's Bolsonaro to Quit Over Coronavirus 'Crimes'

    The Brazilian President faced sharp criticism after he lashed out preventive measures saying Brazil faced 'chaos, hunger and suffering' if local authorities continued 'destroying jobs.'

  • H-1B cap for 2021 reached: All 65,000 visas taken says US
    News
    Oneindia

    H-1B cap for 2021 reached: All 65,000 visas taken says US

    Washington, Mar 30: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B cap for the fiscal year 2021 as it received enough requests from corporations and businesses. The USCIS, the federal agency which screens

  • Noida DM Replaced After Yogi Hits Out at Him During COVID-19 Meet
    News
    The Quint

    Noida DM Replaced After Yogi Hits Out at Him During COVID-19 Meet

    UP Chief Secretary RK Tiwari said that Singh has been transferred and Suhas LY will be appointed the new DM,

  • Using disease as a weapon is viewed with repugnance: UN Chief
    News
    Oneindia

    Using disease as a weapon is viewed with repugnance: UN Chief

    United Nations, Mar 30: The very idea of "using a disease as a weapon" is viewed with repugnance but the international community must remain vigilant as scientific advances are reducing technical barriers that earlier limited the potential of biological weapons, UN

  • As Maharashtra denies community transmission, sporadic cases spike
    News
    The Indian Express

    As Maharashtra denies community transmission, sporadic cases spike

    Officially, while the government has strongly denied any indication of community transmission, experts said these cases are ringing alarm bells that the virus is silently making its way into the community.

  • Coronavirus Epidemic Far from Over in Asia, Prepare for Large-Scale Community Transmission: WHO
    News
    News18

    Coronavirus Epidemic Far from Over in Asia, Prepare for Large-Scale Community Transmission: WHO

    The WHO has warned that countries seeing a tapering off of cases should not let down their guard, or the virus may come surging back.

  • Explained: For how long can virus in this outbreak survive on clothes?
    News
    The Indian Express

    Explained: For how long can virus in this outbreak survive on clothes?

    Studies have looked at how long the virus can survive on various surfaces plastic, steel, cardboard and even in the air, but none has looked at fabric yet.

  • India Facing Massive Demand Shock, Should Worry Less About Financial Prudence, Says Abhijit Banerjee
    News
    News18

    India Facing Massive Demand Shock, Should Worry Less About Financial Prudence, Says Abhijit Banerjee

    On March 26, Sitharaman announced Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for the poor with an aim to help them fight against the deadly coronavirus.

  • Walking home from Punjab: Who they are, why they are leaving
    News
    The Indian Express

    Walking home from Punjab: Who they are, why they are leaving

    Meet bakery, dairy and construction workers who are walking to their hometowns and villages from Punjab.

  • 'There are food shortages': thousands of Australians stuck abroad amid coronavirus plead for help to get home
    News
    The Guardian

    'There are food shortages': thousands of Australians stuck abroad amid coronavirus plead for help to get home

    Citizens overseas from India to Peru and on cruise ships fear window to return to Australia is rapidly shutting * Sign up for Guardian Australia’s daily coronavirus email * Follow live global coronavirus updates * See all our coronavirus coverageAlmost 300 Australians have landed in Sydney on a commercial repatriation flight from South America, but thousands of citizens and permanent residents still remain stranded across the world as airlines cease flying and more national borders lock down.Many still stranded have been caught by desperate family circumstance, suddenly cancelled flights or closed borders and fear the window to return home is rapidly closing without definitive action from the Australian government to repatriate its citizens.They have begged for the government to launch repatriation flights, as other countries have, to rescue them. Trapped in India’s lockdownHundreds of Australians have been stranded in the world’s largest lockdown, imposed by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, on the country’s 1.3 billion people.Vipul, an Australian permanent resident who was waiting on his citizenship ceremony, cannot return home to his wife and two-year-old son in Melbourne.He had come to Navsari, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, to see his brother, who was critically ill with cancer. His return flight to Australia was cancelled and the imposition of a martially enforced lockdown of all of India has left him unable to find a way home.“I am desperate to see my wife and son, who are alone in Australia in this pandemic situation,” he said. “Please help me out to fly to Melbourne as soon as possible.”Internal travel in India is also heavily restricted. Modi, formerly the chief minister of Gujarat state, told the country’s population: “Forget what going out means.”Vipul told the Guardian: “I would also have to go by road from Navsari in Gujarat to Mumbai to catch the flight. It is 400km by road to Mumbai from where I am now.”Max Larkin, a student from Western Australia, said police in Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, were strictly and at times violently enforcing the lockdown. No one was allowed out, except for three hours in the morning when essential shops – food markets and pharmacies – were open between 7am and 10am.“There are shortages in food by the end of the morning because it’s chaos,” Larkin said. “The policy of only three hours is mental because overcrowding happens and people fight over food. The chance of spreading disease is much higher.”India has a relatively low number of Covid-19 cases, with 1,024 infections and 95 deaths. But most states have recorded cases and there are widespread concerns the true number of infections could be significantly higher because testing is not widespread.“There is undeniable poverty and many people ... don’t have access to healthcare,” Larkin said. “The beds will fill up in no time; 1.3 billion people is hard to manage at the best of times. Our government can’t even manage 28 million. They are talking about using hydroxychloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug with awful side effects.“Another aspect that should be considered is the fact that a majority of Indians are daily wage-earners … if they aren’t allowed out, they will starve. I am not sure how long they will stay at home for a virus if faced with starvation. We are kind of scared of the chance of riots if people are forced to stay home without economic help from the government.”Larkin stressed that he was safe and well, but dispirited watching other foreign nationals being repatriated by their governments while Australians remained stranded, facing an unknown future. Citizens of the Czech Republic, France, Germany and other European countries as well the US, Canada and Israel have been repatriated on government run-flights.“I don’t know what to do, and it really comes down to uncertainty,” he said. “We need to know what’s going to happen and what we must do and the only way that can happen is if there is a genuine effort by the Australian government to act in the best interests of all its citizens, even the ones overseas.“I know the government has a lot going on at the home front, but surely there is a branch in it somewhere that can get us home safely.”Australia’s high commission in New Delhi has told citizens to stay indoors and avoid “any crowded place”.“If your situation is or becomes life-threatening, or you have serious concerns for your welfare – for example, cannot find any accommodation whatsoever, or any food, or essential medications – please don’t hesitate to contact us,” consular officials have said.While stressing there were no plans for “assisted departures” for Australian citizens, “the government has agreed to consider, on a case-by-case basis, supporting Australian airlines to operate non-scheduled services to less central locations to bring Australians home”. Flight from Peru oversubscribedEarly Tuesday morning, Sydney time, 292 Australian citizens and permanent residents landed in Sydney from Peru on a commercial charter flight organised by the tour company Chimu Adventures with Australian government assistance.The oversubscribed flight took off from Lima’s military airport on Monday morning, Australia time, also carrying passengers flown from Cusco. The flight flew to Santiago, Chile, where, after a stopover of several hours, passengers boarded another aircraft bound for Sydney. All passengers were tested for Covid-19 before boarding – and found to be negative – and will be subject to two weeks’ mandatory quarantine in Sydney after they land.However, many Australians still stuck in Peru could not afford the $5,000 being asked for an economy class seat on the flight or missed out on booking, while others are in remote parts of the locked-down country where internal movement is heavily restricted, putting airports out of reach. About 160 Australians remain in Peru.Several New Zealand citizens who were on the flight manifest were taken off it because the Australian government would not allow NZ citizens to transit through Australia to get home.An open letter written by Australian Gus Higgins – who remains in Peru – on behalf of the group has pleaded with the Australian government to launch government-sponsored repatriation flights. “We have watched other governments act. We see foreigners leave each day through the repatriation efforts of their respective governments. Despite being told we are a ‘top priority’, honestly, honourable prime minister, we certainly do not feel so.” Stranded on cruise shipsCruise liners remain a significant challenge to countries worldwide. More than 130 Australians are stranded onboard the coronavirus-stricken ship the Zaandam, which is off the coast of Panama and unsure where it will be allowed to dock. The number of people with flu-like symptoms onboard has risen by almost a third in two days from 139 to 179.Holland America Line, which runs the Zaandam, confirmed there had been no further deaths onboard after four elderly passengers died this week. The causes of death have not been released.The Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam, which sailed to resupply the stricken liner, are preparing to pass through the Panama canal after the country reversed a decision to stop the vessels from crossing.Hundreds of asymptomatic passengers were moved to the Rotterdam over the weekend. None have yet presented with flu-like symptoms. It remains unclear whether the two boats would be allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after local authorities raised concerns about the health risks the crew and passengers posed to the population. The Fort Lauderdale mayor, Dean Trantalis, has called for US president Donald Trump to intervene and suggested the vessels should be redirected to nearby navy bases.A total of 134 Australians are onboard the MV Ocean Atlantic, currently moored at Montevideo. A commercial charter was being organised to bring those passengers home, but when another Australian cruise ship, the MV Greg Mortimer, was refused entry to Montevideo’s port, the price for that charter flight almost doubled.Those stranded aboard have pleaded for government intervention in an open letter to Scott Morrison: “Prime minister, we need you to act quickly as we do not know how long we will be allowed to stay moored at Montevideo and we don’t know what will happen to us after that.”Late on Monday, foreign minister Marise Payne said the government would assist with the increased ticket price. “The government will ensure the passengers are reimbursed for this price rise,” she said in a statement.

  • Liverpool champions on 101 points, Chelsea grab 4th – Stats Perform AI completes the season
    News
    myKhel

    Liverpool champions on 101 points, Chelsea grab 4th – Stats Perform AI completes the season

    London, March 31: With the coronavirus pandemic ensuring the football season is on hold for the foreseeable future, much debate surrounds the conclusion of the Premier League campaign. Once normality has returned, should the season be finished whatever it takes,