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'Normal business' on Taiwan's tropical island near China's live-fire exercises

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Xiaoliuqiu is a small laid-back tropical island that no visitor wants to leave. Soothing scenery, delicious seafood, relaxing clear waters with green turtles, and most recently, Chinese Navy ships.

The Taiwan-controlled island is a swimmable island 9.5 kilometers from the sea, and China conducted live-fire exercises this week after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the autonomous island. is doing. China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway state, reacted violently to Pelosi’s recent challenge to Beijing’s record on human rights and democracy.

But with a tense world watching these latitudes, on the islands, “everything seems to be mostly normal as far as local attitudes are concerned,” said the United States, who was vacationing on an island close to mainland China. Attorney John Eastwood said Thursday.

China launched “multiple Dongfeng series ballistic missiles” on Thursday, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense. The ministry further described the launch as “an irrational act that undermines peace in the region.”

Meanwhile, back at Xiaoliuqiu, “everyone seems to have a pretty good attitude,” Eastwood told VOA Mandarin via a Teams video on Thursday.

According to Eastwood, who has lived and worked in Taiwan for 22 years, Xiaoliuqiu’s restaurants are open and people enjoy kayaking, scuba diving and stand-up paddleboarding.

“All water sports activities are still going on and people are behaving as normal.

His hotel faces the waters where China was training.

Thursday morning he found only a small fishing boat. But “by noon, when China was due to start the exercise, I counted about 13 ships that appeared on the horizon. They appeared motionless. It indicated that it was a ship watching or watching,” he said.

On Friday, the Chinese military activated more than 100 aircraft and more than 10 warships for the largest live-fire exercise in history. State media CGTN quoted Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University, as saying, “The exercises have never been more intense and deterrent.”

This exercise forced many commercial vessels to change course. Lloyd’s List Intelligence reported Thursday that about 240 merchant ships had to find alternative routes to their destinations.

China’s ballistic missile launch, which the US called an “overreaction”, has disturbed Xiaoliuqiu’s composure.

Eastwood told VOA Mandarin, “People are worried that there is some kind of mechanical failure leading to the landing of the warhead.

Retaliatory restrictions on China’s trade are expected to hit Taiwan’s fruit and seafood industry.

Despite these measures, Eastwood said most Taiwanese still supported Pelosi’s visit.

“It’s clear that Nancy Pelosi has amassed about 24 million huge fans,” Eastwood said.

Eastwood said Taiwanese people value democracy. “This was hard earned at the cost of tens of thousands of lives during the White Terror era when many were imprisoned and executed.”

Beginning in 1947, the White Terror was the 40-year rule of Taiwan by the Kuomintang, also known as the Nationalist Party of China, after its defeat by the Communist Party in mainland China. Dissidents were arrested, interrogated and executed by Kuomintang intelligence services, according to Taiwan’s National Human Rights Museum. Estimates of the number of civilians killed in the crackdown range from 2,000 to more than 25,000, according to experts.

Taiwan was a one-party dictatorship until democratic reforms in the 1980s led to its first direct presidential election in 1996.

Eastwood said, “At Taipei’s Songshan airport, there were flights taking off basically every half hour to another city in China. People do business together, do productive things together, We were creating value together,” he said.

“It’s better than setting a lockdown.”