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VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwanese Residents Prepare for a Possible Invasion

VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwanese Residents Prepare for a Possible Invasion
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China’s satellite launch triggered an air raid alert in Taiwan. Indonesia temporarily grounds three Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister secured a fourth consecutive term. China’s Snow Sculptors Competition made a comeback.

As tension between China and Taiwan intensifies, many Taiwanese residents are preparing for a possible invasion.

Welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Jessica Stone in for Chris Casquejo. We'll get to that story in just a moment but first, making headlines:

On Tuesday, the Taiwanese Foreign Minister’s press briefing was interrupted by an island-wide alert. Taipei issued the warning after China launched a science satellite Taipei labeled a missile flyover.

The United States and China concluded two days of military talks in Washington Tuesday, marking the latest engagement since the two countries agreed in November to resume military ties. During the meeting, China urged the U.S. to stop arming Taiwan and to refrain from what it calls ‘provocative actions’ in the South China Sea.

Indonesia has temporarily grounded three Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners so they can inspect their mid cabin emergency exit doors. This comes in response to an incident in the U.S. last week where a Max 9 flown by Alaska Airlines suffered a mid air blow out. The plane landed safely and no one was hurt. In 2018, Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air operated a Boeing 737 Max 8 which crashed, killing all 189 people on board.

The South Korean Parliament passed a measure banning the killing and selling of dog meat, marking the end of a centuries-old tradition. Under the new legislation individuals involved in selling, breeding, or slaughtering dogs for food can face punishment of up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 23 thousand dollars. The bill is now awaiting presidential approval.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secured her fourth consecutive term, winning nearly 75% of the seats in Sunday’s general election. The main opposition boycotted the election, resulting in low turnout. The U.S. State Department says the elections in Bangladesh were NOT free and fair.

A possible Chinese attempt to take over self-governing island of Taiwan has been a threat for decades... and it's also a topic on the campaign trial ahead of Saturday's Taiwanese election, but people who live on the island say it seems like it's a threat that's more real than ever before and they are taking action. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has the details.

At this airsoft gun club, while these students are learning to handle a gun that shoots plastic pellets, Tony Lu has shot with real bullets and experienced war.

These relics -- the reminders of the three months Lu spent fighting in Ukraine.

"Since the Russia-Ukraine war, there have been more and more of these civil defense classes."

Some people in Taiwan worry, if Russia can attack Ukraine, then China could attack Taiwan. Some people take action by learning how to shoot. Others take an interest in using ham radios to communicate.

In this classroom at Kuma Academy, students learn how to recognize disinformation, how to survive if basic infrastructure is disrupted and how to save lives with first aid skills. Most of the students have been women.

“It’s almost like a team of moms. Their motivation to come to class is, they want to know, in extraordinary situations, including war, what can they do, how can they protect their family.”

The history between Taiwan and China stems from the Chinese civil war that ended more than 70 years ago. The Communists won and the ruling Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan a part of China, even though Taiwan now has its own democratic government. China attacking the island has always been a possibility, but after so many years, apathy has set in for some people.

Lu doubts that the people of Taiwan can protect the island.

“I’m not very optimistic. People need to strengthen their ability to defend Taiwan. Life has been too peaceful.”

Observers say that whether China attacks does not depend on who is elected Taiwan’s next president. Instead of trying to calculate the risk of war, Ho says, Taiwan’s residents need to face the reality that war is possible and should prepare for it.

Elizabeth Lee, VOA News, Taipei, Taiwan

Visit for the most up-to-date stories. I’m Jessica Stone.

And now we take you to a frozen wonderland.

In China's northern region, the Snow Sculptors Competition has made a comeback, attracting artists from 12 different countries competing as part of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly.