The war in Ukraine has raised fears of a military conflict in Taiwan, amid rising tensions with China, which has long controlled the island, although the ruling Chinese Communist Party has never controlled the territory.
Tang did not mention China by name but said Taiwan needed a plan to preserve its internet infrastructure in case of “intense military aggression” or other threats, such as natural disasters or problems with submarine cables.
The government is set to review satellite internet applications and will be open to discussions with “any qualified service provider”. Tang said Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs will allocate nearly $18 million to secure online backups over the next two years. The Washington Post asked SpaceX if the company intended to make an offer and did not immediately receive a response.
Non-GSO satellites such as those used by Starlink orbit the Earth in relatively low orbits and are faster than conventional geostationary satellites. The technology is becoming increasingly common in areas where broadband signals are weak or non-existent.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Mikhailo FedorovMinister of Digital Transformation of the country, tweet a call to Musk for broadband help, amid fears the bombing could disrupt internet access or send the country offline. The founder of SpaceX, along with European allies, sent thousands of antennas to Kyiv – many of them are now on rooftops across Ukraine.
In recent months, Beijing has done Increased presence on the Taiwan StraitThreatening the island with warplanes and encircling it with warships during intense exercises. In August of this year, days before US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, apparently Internet attack Knocked Offline the website of the Presidential Office of Taiwan.
Tang said that although the attack “did not cause much harm, it did make us more vigilant about the security of communications and information.”
In an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster BaoDao, where Tang first announced the plans, the minister said that as long as people “can see the sky” they will be able to access the Internet via low-orbit satellites.
The move makes sense for Taiwan, according to some experts.
Taiwan is already vulnerable to cyber espionage, as its neighbors are eager to “see its email,” said John Holtquist, head of intelligence analysis at US cybersecurity firm Mandiant. He said that the geography of the island, compared to the geography of Ukraine, puts it at risk of complete internet outage.
“Given the geopolitical situation and Taiwan’s history of natural disasters, they may have to consider the possibility of becoming completely isolated – if they don’t have a redundant system,” said Hultquist. “And we see this being used outside the context of the war – we saw a lot of serious attacks in Ukraine, before the actual invasion.”
This logic has gained traction in Taiwan and parts of the region wary of conflict with China.
during the Shangri-La Dialoguesan annual security forum held in Singapore in June, warned Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “Today’s Ukraine could be East Asia tomorrow,” Repetition of the imperative That appeared in Taiwan in the early days of the war in Ukraine.
While Taiwanese officials have stressed the enormous geopolitical differences between positions, the push for a spare internet signals recognition of parallels that are worth studying.
Internet’s back-up plan faces a snag: Some potential investors, including Musk, may see cooperation with Taiwan as a risk to business in China.
“Musk’s broader range of business interests is certainly more exposed in China than in Russia,” said Beck Shrimpton, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “Until the decision to have discussions [with Taiwan]especially if it were announced, it would be much more complicated than in the case of Ukraine.”
The war in Ukraine: what you need to know
Last: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to The annexation of four occupied regions of Ukraine, after interim referendums were widely denounced as illegal. Follow us Live updates here.
the answer: The Biden administration announced on Friday a New round of sanctions against RussiaIn response to the annexations, it targeted Russian and Belarusian government officials, family members, military officials, and defense procurement networks. As President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday, so is Ukraine Apply for a “quick ascent” to NATOIn clear response to the annexations.
In Russia: Putin announced military mobilization On September 21 to call up to 300,000 reserve soldiers In a dramatic attempt to reverse the setbacks in his war on Ukraine. advertising led to exodus From More than 180,000 peopleespecially The men who were subject to serviceAnd the Renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.
Fighting: Ukraine launched successful counterattack who – which Russia forced a major withdrawal in the northeastern Kharkiv region In early September, when the troops fled the cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and Abandoned large amounts of military equipment.
Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the start of the war. Here are some of their most powerful works.