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Ukraine reverberated in Taiwan’s Matsu Islands

STORY: For residents of the remote Matsu Islands, the drone of planes overhead is a stark reminder of the imminent threat of war posed by their huge and powerful neighbor, mainland China. And they say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made that threat ever more real. The Matsu Islands are a stone’s throw from the mainland, but Taiwan has controlled them, hundreds of miles away, since 1949. That’s when the defeated Nationalist government fled after losing the mainland to the communists. Today, the islands are home to a Taiwanese missile base and would likely be an immediate target for Beijing in any event of renewed conflict. China considers Taiwan a rogue province and has never ruled out taking it by force. For Lin Jih-shou, a 64-year-old breakfast co-owner, the recent flyby of a Chinese plane reminded him of the possibility of conflict in his own backyard. “Even if they provoke us, we still can’t touch them. If they want to fly, just let them fly. of the third world war. It’s very scary, it wouldn’t even be just us and the continent fighting, other countries would surely join the fight as well. Just look at the war between Russia and Ukraine, if they use atomic bombs, it’s all over, no country will be able to escape.” The Matsu Islands were regularly bombed by China at the height of the Cold War, and older residents say the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has reignited fears about its own history. But even as China has stepped up its military pressure on Taiwan in recent years, some of the younger generation aren’t so worried. Some of the abandoned bunkers dotting the coastline they were transformed into tourist destinations and boutique hotels.Many young residents are more interested in preserving the unique culture of the islands and have worked to build modern small businesses and a vibrant arts scene.Chung Jing-yei, 26, is a restaurant manager and says that moving there taught him the way, so many want to maintain the delicate status quo.“Between Taiwan and China there is already a discussion c lara and reasonable that we are different. In the past, I really wanted to stand up and emphasize this point. But after coming here, I understood why some middle-aged people did not want to emphasize this issue, because they are in the front line. In case something really happens, this place could be the first to be attacked. So people here keep saying, why do we have to keep emphasizing this issue (China-Taiwan relations)?” Taiwan has raised its alert level since the Ukraine invasion, but has yet to report any signs of an imminent attack. .


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