Lloyd Austin, US defence secretary, warned that China’s air incursions by fighter jets, bombers and other warplanes near Taiwan appeared to be rehearsals for military operations against the country.
“It looks a lot like them exploring their true capabilities and sure it looks a lot like rehearsals,” Austin said in a speech on Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum.
Austin did not appear to suggest that China was preparing for conflict in the near future, but the country’s air force has significantly increased the scale and frequency of missions into Taiwan’s “air defence identification zone” this year.
The military activity, coupled with rapid technological advances by the People’s Liberation Army, have raised concerns about China’s intentions towards Taiwan, over which it claims sovereignty. Some experts believe China’s recent rapid expansion of its nuclear arsenal is designed to make it harder for the US to intervene in any conflict over Taiwan.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. US allies convinced of Russian threat to Ukraine EU and Nato allies have swung behind the Biden administration’s assessment that Russia may be poised to invade Ukraine, following unprecedented sharing of US intelligence on Moscow’s military preparations.
2. Musk being allowed to ‘make the rules’ in space, ESA chief warns Josef Aschbacher, the new director-general of the European Space Agency has urged the continent’s leaders to stop facilitating Elon Musk’s ambition to dominate the new space economy, warning that the lack of co-ordinated action meant the US billionaire was “making the rules” himself.
3. Shareholders accuse Toshiba of overlooking privatisation bids Several of Toshiba’s biggest shareholders are accusing the Japanese conglomerate of failing to fully pursue talks with private equity buyers, and say they will ratchet up pressure on the board to revive discussions on a full buyout of the company.
4. Singapore suspends crypto group over spat with BTS Singapore’s financial regulator has suspended Bitget, a prominent digital currency exchange at the centre of a row involving a crypto pension scheme claiming links to South Korea’s biggest boy band BTS.
5. Didi to delist from New York and switch to Hong Kong Chinese ride-hailing group Didi Chuxing said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange, accelerating China’s decoupling from US capital markets as Beijing cracks down on the country’s leading technology groups. The move comes less than six months after its $4.4bn initial public offering.
The days ahead
Aung San Suu Kyi court verdicts The first verdicts in the trial of Myanmar’s ousted leader are set to be announced after being postponed from November 30. (Guardian)
Narendra Modi hosts Vladimir Putin The Indian prime minister will host the president of Russia for a one-to-one meeting on the sidelines of the India-Russia Annual Summit, where 10 bilateral agreements are set to be signed. (Hindustan Times, Economic Times)
Centenary of the Anglo-Irish treaty The agreement, signed 100 years ago today, ended the war of independence and set out terms for the division of the island of Ireland — learn about how it was done, and its consequences, in this excellent read from the Weekend FT.
What else we’re reading
How migration became a weapon in a ‘hybrid war’ Governments are increasingly using displaced people to exploit Europe’s divisions and fears over migrants. Officials are grappling for ways to respond to weaponised migration alongside other coercive tools aimed at social and political destabilisation, such as cyber attacks and disinformation.
Robert Dole, Republican senator, 1923-2021 If anybody embodied the politics of Washington in the last half of the 20th century — the good, the bad and the ugly — then surely it was Robert Dole, the former Republican senator from Kansas, who died in his sleep yesterday at the age of 98.
How Europe can rival China’s Belt and Road EU’s new investment plan, Global Gateway has the unspoken but evident intention to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But it risks faltering without proper funding and explicit aims, writes Martin Sandbu.
Life at the top gets harder for chief executives As conditions in both the markets and the real economy get tougher, and leadership of big public companies becomes harder, writes Rana Foroohar. Rising numbers of corporate leaders are leaving their jobs as pressure intensifies from multiple directions.
The problem with vanishing cash Claer Barrett is all for exposing children early to money and payments, but what worries our consumer editor is the invisibility of digital transactions. “Do children realise that actual money is being spent, or think this ‘magic card’ simply makes everything possible?” she asks as part of our Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign.
Reader call out: Are you a teenager or do you know a teen who is interested in writing about finance? The FT is looking for submissions from budding writers, with the offer of a cash prize for the best entries.
Do we need another Princess Diana film? Maybe we do, actually. On the FT Weekend podcast, Lilah Raptopoulos speaks with director Pablo Larraín, who our film critic calls “one of the most consistently interesting directors in cinema today”. He explains the creative process behind his new film Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Diana.