Before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, there was another scenario that concerned foreign policy experts: China and Taiwan. Despite having never governed it, China considers Taiwan its territory and has vowed to “reunify” it with the Chinese mainland—by force if necessary. Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Adviser, stated today that preventing war against China over Taiwan was important. will be “hard work” and require “coordination with allies.”
China might be having second thoughts about invading Taiwan after watching Russia’s disastrous war in Ukraine, though, and a big reason for Ukraine’s success has been the stable internet connections provided by the Starlink satellite system from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has allowed Kyiv to say in contact with troops despite Russian attacks on communications infrastructure. After watching the conflict in Ukraine, Taiwan plans to create its own Starlink. The Financial Times reportedThree people who are well-versed in the matter were cited.
Taiwan’s space agency, TASA, is now in early talks with domestic and international investors to raise money for the project. “We are going to spin our low-Earth orbit satellite communications project off into a company,” a senior TASA official told the British paper.
After their February invasion, Russian forces in Ukraine disrupted internet service. But later that month, Musk activated Starlink across Ukraine, after a request from Mykhaylo Fedorov, the nation’s deputy prime minister.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk tweeted.
Fedorov reported that Ukraine has already received around 22,000 antennas and 10,000 more are due to arrive in the next few months.
These antennas can be powered by generators, so they have been a huge help to civilians and Ukrainian forces. Starlink-connected drones have been used by troops, for example. drop anti-tank munitions Russian positions
Starlink was not designed for such activities. The idea behind Starlink was to provide satellite internet connectivity for places without telecommunications infrastructure. However, a country under attack is often just that due to attacks on infrastructure.
In October, Musk griped that SpaceX—recently valued at $137 billion—could not “indefinitely” provide the Starlink service to Ukraine, but he quickly backed down after backlash. He did the same. provoking an uproar By proposing that Russia be allowed the Crimea Peninsula, which was seized by it in 2014, be kept
“The hell with it,” he tweeted. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.” In response to a comment that “no good deed goes unpunished,” he added, “Even so, we should still do good deeds.”
But such “good deeds” are not guaranteed, of course. Taiwan has built its Starlink-like system and aims to be more resilient than if it relied only on one company.
“Our primary concern…is facilitating the societal resilience, to make sure for example that journalists can send videos to…international viewers even during a large-scale disaster,” Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital affairs minister, told the FT.
“The vision [is] not to tie ourselves to any particular satellite provider,” she added. “We want to work with as many of them concurrently—that’s resilience.”
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