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China-Taiwan tensions are raising fears of a conflict. In Taipei, however, people do not seem worried

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But in a park in the Taiwanese capital on Thursday, the topic of conversation was about everything but the potential for conflict between Beijing and the island he considers part of his territory.

Huang and Chang, both grandmothers in their 80s, said they had spent the morning with friends talking about food, tea and if they needed to do any exercise.

War is not something they worry about, they said.

“We do not worry about it at all. The threat has always been there and there is nothing to worry about. If it had happened, it would have happened a long time ago,” said Huang, who said she preferred to be called Grandma Huang. .

Their calm stance stands in stark contrast to recent military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and statements made by leaders in mainland China and Taiwan, which have been governed separately since the end of a civil war more than seven decades ago. .

A group of Taiwanese old women, including Huang and Chang, met in a park in Taipei on Wednesday, October 13th.

So far in October alone, Beijing has sent more than 150 fighter jets to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Area (ADIZ), breaking daily records of such interventions, to which Taipei has vowed to respond. with radio warnings, anti-aircraft missile tracking or interception of fighter jets. with

On October 9, Chinese President Xi Jinping – who has refused to rule out military force to capture Taiwan if necessary – said “reunification” between China and Taiwan was inevitable.

A day later, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Taipei would not bow to pressure from Beijing. “No one can force Taiwan to take the path China has set for us,” she said, adding that the future of the democratic island must be decided by its 24 million people.

“We are all Chinese”

Taiwanese and US officials have publicly estimated that Beijing may have the capacity to occupy the island within the next six years.

But on the streets of Taipei, the mood this week was mostly calm and confident. While some people said they were a little worried about the threats of “reunification” forced by Beijing, many believed that the Chinese government would never continue with it.

“I think mainland China and Taiwan have always coexisted peacefully. There are Taiwanese people in mainland China, and there are continental people here in Taiwan. We are all Chinese people,” said Vicky Tsai, 38, a market trader in Taipei.

Vicky Tsai, a pork seller in Taipei, said China and Taiwan had managed to live in peace together for the past 70 years.

The dealer said military tensions did not have much impact on most people’s daily lives, considering them as “games played by the upper class”. “I think it ‘s more important to make money,” she said.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ have become so routine in fact – nearly 400 since May, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense – that flights rarely make headlines in the country.

“A battle of psychology”

Liu Ting-ting, who reports on the military to Taiwan’s TVBS channel, said that although tensions were rising in the region, it did not affect daily life.

“People are more concerned if … they can put food on the table,” she said.

Liu said that while there was no doubt that there was a possibility that Beijing could take Taiwan by force if it thought there was no other option, the people of the island “have no word on that.”

“There is nothing they can do about it,” she said.

Liu described China’s military flights as a “battle of psychology.” She said that while Beijing and Taipei were trying to project military power, it appeared that China was aiming to instill fear in the Taiwanese people.

Liu Ting-ting, a journalist on Taiwan's TVBS channel, said people on the island were more concerned with issues affecting their daily lives.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged China to suspend military activity around Taiwan and reiterated the US commitment to the island, calling it “strong”.

Asked if they believed the US would help Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, opinion was divided among Taiwanese people interviewed by CNN.

Lisu Su, 34, owner of an herbal tea shop, said Taiwan’s “strategic position” meant the US would have to help protect the island.

“As long as Taiwan does not give up on itself and has a strong defense capability, I think the United States will definitely help,” he said.

Huang and Chang, the octogeners, were more careful. While they said they did not want a war, both believed that any possible invasion was beyond the control of the Taiwanese people.

“If it does happen, it does not matter if you worry about it or not,” Huang said.

Gladys Tsai contributed to this report.

Sources

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2/ https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/14/asia/taiwan-china-taipei-people-intl-hnk/index.html

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