Taiwan suspects Chinese ships cut islands' internet cables
Comment of the Day

March 09 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Taiwan suspects Chinese ships cut islands' internet cables

This article from AP may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

The cables had been cut a total of 27 times in the past five years, but it was unclear which country the vessels hailed from, based on data from Chunghwa Telecom.

Taiwan’s coast guard gave chase to the fishing vessel that cut the first cable on Feb. 2, but it went back to Chinese waters, according to an official who was briefed on the incident and was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Authorities found two Chinese ships in the area where the cables were cut, based on automated identification system data, similar to GPS, which shows a vessel’s location.

“We can’t rule out that China destroyed these on purpose,” said Su Tzu-yun, a defense expert at the government think tank, Institute for National Defense and Security Research, citing research that only China and Russia had the technical capabilities to do this. “Taiwan needs to invest more resources in repairing and protecting the cables.”

Eoin Treacy's view

The Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that the USA is planning to increase the number of troops stationed in Taiwan by several hundred over the coming months. Taiwan will also increase the number of troops it sends to the USA for training by several hundred.

The severing of internet cables with outlying islands is a sabre-rattling exercise to highlight how vulnerable the island is to a blockade.

There is a clear trend of escalation between China and the broader US/EU coalition. The Netherlands placed further restrictions on the export of semiconductor equipment to China this week.

The Chinese response will be to lend further assistance to Russia. There is no positive way to spin this tit for tat activity. The fact this is going on at a time when the USA is spending $25 billion a month on Chinese imports suggests there will be a cut-off point at some stage. .
The continued breakout in Mexican stocks and the Peso suggests the country is likely to be a significant beneficiary.

There is a growing discussion about China’s efforts to pay for commodity imports in Renminbi. I think it is worth considering that Russia began to accept Euro for oil in 2019. That didn’t last very long, and Europe is now back paying US Dollars for oil and gas.

If China successfully negotiates with a major Middle Eastern producer (other than Iran) to pay for oil in Renminbi, it is reasonable to expect that will be the location for the next significant war. 

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