taipei: A television news channel in Taiwan has apologized after falsely reporting that China had launched an invasion just outside the capital Taipei, raising the alarm online.
Taipei-based Chinese Television Systems, a TV network partially owned by the Taiwanese government, ran a ticker along the bottom of the screen at 7 a.m. Taipei time on Wednesday, saying China had attacked several parts of New Taipei City. .
“New Taipei City has been hit by a Chinese communist guided missile. Ships in the port of Taipei exploded, damaging facilities,” the image reads. “Banqiao Station has reportedly been set on fire by explosives placed by special forces.”
The station issued an on-air apology a few hours later, explaining that the chyron was produced for a New Taipei City Fire Department disaster prevention video and aired due to a production error. CTS later announced an investigation into what it called “gross negligence,” and promised in a text message that it would severely punish any employees found responsible.
The Ministry of National Defense had asked municipal governments to videotape the Chinese invasion scenario as part of an annual exercise, Fire Commissioner Huang De-ching said by telephone.
“This is for the exercise of national defense mobilization and disaster prevention,” Huang said. “The Ministry of Defense has asked us to record the scenario of a Chinese attack. So we scripted that at the beginning of the video.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked speculation about the risk that China could similarly fulfill its long-held threat to take Taiwan by force if peaceful means fail. While there are no signs of an imminent invasion, especially as Chinese President Xi Jinping seems focused on a crucial party leadership reshuffle later this year, Taipei has faced increasing military, diplomatic and economic pressure from Beijing in recent years. .
Last year, the People’s Liberation Army more than doubled its flights to Taiwan’s air defense zone to nearly 1,000 sorties. China has also regularly criticized Taiwan for strengthening ties with the US.