China has warned the incoming Trump administration that any attempt to challenge the “One China” policy could affect peace in the Taiwan Strait.
A Beijing spokesman said that interference may also damage developing US-China relations.
Under the “One China” policy, the US has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway province.
Image source Flickr
However, Donald Trump has expressed doubts about continuing to abide by the policy.
The president-elect had already angered China by taking a phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, and then tweeting about it.
On December 12, China said it was “seriously concerned” by Donald Trump’s comments, and urged sensitivity around the issue.
However, An Fengshan, a spokesman for China’s policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office, went further on December 14, warning of more serious consequences.
He said: “Upholding the <<One China>> principle is the political basis of developing China-US relations, and is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
“If this basis is interfered with or damaged then the healthy, stable development of China-US relations is out of the question, and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be seriously impacted.”
An Fengshan’s comments came as Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, vowed the United States will keep challenging Beijing’s “assertive, aggressive behavior in the South China Sea”.
Speaking to Australian think tank the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Admiral Harry Harris said: “We will not allow the shared domains to be closed down unilaterally, no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea.
“We will co-operate where we can but we will be ready to confront where we must.”
Beijing has been developing artificial islands capable of hosting military planes in the region.
The Chinese government also insists on sovereignty over virtually all the resource-endowed South China Sea, despite rival claims from its South East Asian neighbors.
Washington has repeatedly said it does not recognize the claims, and has sent warships into the area to assert the right to freedom of navigation.
Donald Trump has questioned whether the United States should continue its “One China” policy.
The 1979 policy has respected China’s stance on Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province.
However, the president-elect said that without concessions from Beijing on trade and other issues, he did not see why that should continue.
The US relations with China became strained when Donald Trump took a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Donald Trump went on to post a series of tweets criticizing China for its exchange rate policy and its operations in the South China Sea.
Image source Flickr
Speaking in an interview with Fox News broadcast on December 11, Donald Trump said: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”
He also said China was not co-operating with the United States on its handling of its currency, on North Korea, or on tensions in the South China Sea.
In the same interview, Donald Trump said he “doesn’t believe” a CIA assessment that Russian hackers tried to sway the presidential election in his favor.
Donald Trump’s decision to take a phone call from the Taiwanese president earlier this month was a break with US diplomatic tradition and prompted a formal protest from China.
No US president or president-elect had spoken directly to a Taiwanese leader for decades.
In the Fox interview, Donald Trump said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan’s leader.
“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me,” he said.
“It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?
“I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it.”
China’s foreign ministry has summoned the US charge d’affaires Kaye Lee in protest after Washington announced it would sell two warships to Taiwan.
Vice-Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang made “solemn representations” with Kaye Lee, the US charge d’affaires, the ministry said.
The arms deal, worth $1.83 billion, comes as tensions rise over China’s island-building in the South China Sea.
Taiwan expressed gratitude to Washington for helping with its defense needs.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day be reunited with the mainland, though relations have warmed in recent weeks.
Leaders from both countries met last month for the first time since the 1949 civil war.
China maintains a right to use force if Taiwan attempts to gain independence.
The Chinese statement said Zheng Zenguang had told Kaye Lee at the December 16 meeting that Taiwan “is an inalienable part of China’s territory” and that it “strongly opposes the US arms sale”.
It added that the deal had “severely damaged China’s sovereignty and security interest”, and pledged to sanction the US companies involved in it.
The US said the deal, the first in four years, was consistent with its “long-standing policy on arms sales to Taiwan”.
Relations between the US and China are frayed over China’s construction of artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.
Two decommissioned US Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles, as well as surface-to-air missiles and other equipment are all included in the deal.
It will be approved in 30 days, unless Congress objects. That is thought unlikely, as there has been growing concern in the US about Taiwan’s ability to defend itself from China’s military might.
State department spokesman John Kirby said the sale was consistent with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the US to provide Taiwan with sufficient weaponry to defend itself, even though the US does not recognize Taiwan as a state independent of China.
The move did not need to have a negative effect on US-Chinese relations, John Kirby said, adding: “We still want to work to establish a better, more transparent, more effective relationship with China in the region.”
McDonald’s China has sparked controversy after the opening of a outlet in the home of former Taiwanese leader Chiang Ching-kuo in Hangzhou.
Conservationists had called for the villa, a cultural heritage site, to be converted into a museum.
However, officials said the decision to lease the site to McDonald’s was made because they needed to cover maintenance costs.
Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandson and others have voiced their concern over the commercialization of the site.
McDonald’s opened the 100-seat McCafe in the lower storey of the villa, situated by Hangzhou’s West Lake tourist attraction, over the weekend.
The upper storey, also leased out by officials, houses a Starbucks outlet which opened a month earlier.
Chiang Ching-Kuo is the son of revolutionary figure and Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to the island in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War.
He later become the leader of Taiwan in 1978.
Chiang Ching-kuo and his family stayed in the villa from October to November, 1948, and it was designated a cultural heritage site by Hangzhou officials in 2003.
The move has been criticized by Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandson, Taiwanese businessman Demos Chiang, on microblogging platform Weibo.
“I don’t understand, opening a McDonald’s in the villa… how exactly does that adhere to regulations on correct usage of cultural heritage sites?” he said in a post.
In 2000, Beijing saw a similar controversy when a Starbucks outlet opened in the Forbidden City.
It shut in 2007 after officials decided to merge and cut down the number of shops in the palace, following multiple protests over the years about the commercialization of the site.
According to Beijing Youth Daily, the decision to commercially lease out the villa was met with strong resistance, with more than 90% attendees at a public consultation in January voting against it.
Conservationists suggested that the villa be turned into a historical museum promoting China-Taiwan ties.
One of them, Zhejiang University academic Zhou Fuduo, noted that the villa was a symbol of China and Taiwan’s shared history.
“We said that the villa’s sociocultural value outstrips its commercial value, but in the end our proposal was ignored,” he told the paper.
However, officials pointed out that the local government needed money to recoup the cost of maintaining the building throughout the years.
A spokesman for the Zhejiang local government, which oversees Hangzhou city, told the newspaper: “Chiang Ching-kuo stayed in this home too briefly and what is left is just the main structure, the interiors look nothing like they used to when the Chiang family was here… there is not much point in turning it into a museum.”
Typhoon Soudelor has hit south-eastern China prompting the evacuation of thousands of people and leaving millions of homes without power.
The powerful typhoon struck Fujian province late on Saturday night, bringing rains and gale force winds, state media said.
It earlier swept across Taiwan, leaving at least five people dead.
Although it has weakened, typhoon Soudelor is expected to continue moving across the region in the coming hours.
Fujian raised its typhoon alert to the highest level in anticipation of the storm, with at least 163,000 people evacuated to higher ground. There are reports of more evacuations in neighboring Zhejiang.
Rail services and flights have been cancelled in the path of the storm, and schools and offices closed.
Taiwan earlier on Saturday saw winds of more than 142mph, when Soudelor made landfall.
It ripped up trees and tore down billboards, and triggered a landslide in at least one village.
Among the victims were an 8-year-old girl and her mother who were swept out to sea.
A firefighter was reportedly killed after being hit by a drunk driver as he tried to move a fallen tree.
Typhoon Soudelor gradually lost its strength as it crossed the island, but was still packing winds of up to 89mph over the strait between Taiwan and China.
China’s President Xi Jinping and the leader of Taiwan’s ruling party, Eric Chu, have held the highest level talks between the two sides in six years.
Nationalist Chairman, Eric Chu, was in Beijing for the meeting, a sign of warming relations between the sides.
Any rapprochement is controversial in Taiwan, which has seen protests over the prospect of closer ties.
Chinese nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a brutal civil war with the communists.
In the same time, China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will ultimately return.
Many Taiwanese oppose reunification and fear that growing economic dependency on Beijing could be the first step towards that outcome, correspondents say.
President Xi Jinping said during the meeting that China and Taiwan should settle political differences through consultation, but with Taiwan’s acceptance that it is part of China, according to Xinhua state news agency. He also said Beijing will make greater efforts to open up to Taiwan and help it to develop economically.
“The two sides can consult with each other on equal basis under the principle of <<one China>>, and reach a reasonable arrangement,” Xi Jinping said.
Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT) has seen its popularity decline and protests at home, dubbed the “Sunflower Movement”, over its warming ties with the Chinese Communist Party.
In March last year, hundreds of students occupied parliament for weeks to demonstrate against a trade pact that the KMT signed with China. Thousands rallied on the streets against the mainland.
Eric Chu’s party is nevertheless currently pushing to join China’s new development bank. Taiwan’s initial application to the bank was rejected by Beijing because of the name under which it applied, which implied it was an independent nation.
However, Beijing said it would welcome an application by Taiwan under an “appropriate” name.
The KMT had its worst-ever performance in local elections in November and the President Ma Ying-jeou stepped down as party chief, to be replaced by Eric Chu.
Taiwanese rescue teams are continuing to search for the 12 people who remain unaccounted for after a plane crashed in a river.
Thirty-one people are now known to have died when the TransAsia ATR-72 plane came down in Taipei’s Keelung River on February 4.
Fifteen survivors were pulled from the wreckage, including a two-year-old boy.
Taiwan’s aviation regulator has ordered all operators of ATR planes to conduct “special checks”.
Many of the passengers were Chinese tourists and China will reportedly participate in a probe into the crash.
The death toll was expected to rise as rescue teams searched the river for the missing passengers.
“This morning we have some 60 divers going underwater to search” in addition to 20 boats scouring the river, said Liu Yung-chou, from the national fire agency which is leading the rescue operation.
Aviation authorities in Taiwan said the pilot and co-pilot were among the dead.
The ATR-72 turbo-prop plane had just taken off from Taipei Songshan Airport and was heading to the Kinmen islands, just off the coast of the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.
Dramatic video footage shot from inside a passing car showed the plane banking sharply before clipping a taxi and the edge of the elevated road with its wing.
The final communication from the pilots to air traffic control was “Mayday, mayday, engine flame out”, aviation officials confirmed on February 5, after an audio snippet was widely broadcast by local media.
The cause of the crash has not been identified, but the message indicates that one of the engines had stopped working – one propeller appeared from the footage to be not turning.
The aircraft ended up mostly underwater in the river, broken into several pieces. Rescue teams in dinghies ferried survivors to safety, but many of those on board were trapped inside the sunken wreckage.
Overnight, a crane hauled the half-submerged fuselage from the river.
Local media have reported the story of one escape, by a couple and their two-year-old son.
Lin Ming-wei was seated next to where the fuselage broke apart, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported. Unhurt, he acted quickly to get out of his seat and help his wife scramble out of the opening.
He found his son in the water and the boy was later resuscitated. Lin Ming-wei’s wife and son are recovering in hospital, CNA reported.
TransAsia is a Taiwan-based carrier that operates domestically and on some international routes from Taiwan. Its director, Peter Chen, said the aircraft was “the newest model. It hadn’t been used for even a year”.
The plane’s flight data recorders, also known as black boxes, have been recovered.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said in a statement that all 22 ATR planes being operated in Taiwan had to undergo a variety of checks including on the engines, fuel control systems and propeller systems.
Taiwanese petrochemical company LCY has been blamed for a series of deadly explosions that killed 28 people on July 31 in Kaohsiung.
LCY failed to shut off a pipeline despite detecting a drop in pressure, officials said.
The company said it will cooperate with the investigation.
The search for two missing firemen is continuing, though there is little hope that they will be found alive.
Almost 300 people were injured in the explosions, which left a trail of devastation in the centre of the city.
Witnesses reported huge fireballs soaring into the air. Officials said there were at least five blasts.
A statement from Kaohsiung city authorities said that LCY had known about the drop in pressure but had continued to transmit propylene gas.
Taiwanese petrochemical company LCY has been blamed for a series of deadly explosions that killed 28 people on July 31 in Kaohsiung
By the time it shut off the supply, some 100 tons of propylene gas had already leaked into the ground.
Officials added that LCY failed to notify authorities of the leak in time, preventing a complete evacuation of the area.
Chen Chin-der, the director of Kaohsiung’s Environmental Protection Bureau, said authorities were only able to identify the gas minutes before the blasts started.
The CEO of LCY said that the company would accept full responsibility if it turned out to be at fault.
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou visited the site of the explosion on Saturday, and vowed a full investigation.
“Everyone is concerned about the cause of the incident and the cabinet has set up a task force to investigate and hope to find the cause in the shortest possible time” he said.
“Even though this incident happened in Kaohsiung, every Taiwanese person’s heart is hurt” he added.
Kaohsiung’s mayor, Chen Chu, said the explosions had “shocked residents tremendously”.
“I instructed relevant units to thoroughly inspect the pipelines and call for the central government to review how to properly locate them so residents do not live under invisible threats and to prevent another tragedy,” Chen Chu said in a statement.
Taiwan’s Premier Jiang Yi-huan announced three days of national mourning, to start on August 5.
Flags will be flown at half-mast at government buildings and schools, to mourn both the Kaohsiung blast victims as well as the 48 people who died in a plane crash last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the search for two missing firemen is continuing, our correspondent Cindy Sui reports.
Sniffer dogs and sensor equipment are being used to search the rubble on one of the streets where the explosions took place.
The area where the explosions happened is just a short distance from the Kaohsiung City Hall, the popular Guanghua Night Market, the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store and at least one major hotel.
Eyewitnesses and local residents reported smelling a strong gas odor about three hours before the explosions occurred. Many of them were worried and went outside.
One person wrote online that he called Kaohsiung City’s hotline for residents but was told that firefighters had arrived on the scene and to go back home.
As he expressed anger to the hotline operator, he saw a large explosion. Manhole covers were blown three stories high. Many people lay injured on the street.
Another resident who lived nearby said that he thought it was an earthquake at first and then he heard something like a bomb. The electricity was cut off. He immediately woke up his wife and children and they quickly left their home.
Several gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has killed 25 people and injured 267 others, officials say.
The blasts rocked the city’s Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads.
The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines.
Images of the scene showed major fires, upturned vehicles, bodies covered in debris and streets split in two.
The explosions happened late on Thursday night, with witnesses reporting huge fireballs soaring into the air. Taiwan’s prime minister said there were at least five blasts.
“The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting an area of two to three sq km [one sq mile],” the National Fire Agency said in a statement.
The blasts rocked the city’s Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads (photo AFP)
Four firefighters who were investigating reports of a gas leak were said to be among the dead.
People in the area were evacuated to schools as teams battled the blazes. By Friday morning most fires were reported to have been extinguished.
The exact cause of the blasts had not yet been identified but several petrochemical companies had pipelines running along the sewage system in the district.
“The cause of the gas leak is still not clear at this moment. We suspect the leaked gas could be propylene,” said Economic Affairs Minister Chang Chia-chu.
One witness told AFP news agency he saw “fire soaring up to possibly 20 storey high after a blast”.
Another told Taiwan’s Central News Agency that the “explosions were like thunder and the road in front of my shop ripped open”.
People had been ordered to stay home from school and work in Kaohsiung’s Cianjhen and Lingya districts on Friday, local media reported.
Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu wrote on her Facebook page (in Chinese): “Rescue efforts are still underway.”
She urged everyone to “follow the instructions of rescue teams at the scene, and avoid standing around and watching”.
“The local government has already requested [gas suppliers] CPC and Hsin Kao Gas cut off the gas supply,” she added, urging residents to stay calm.
The local government has set up an emergency response centre.
At least 48 people died after a passenger plane crashed in Taiwan’s Penghu archipelago, amid stormy weather in the area.
The plane, carrying 58 people, crashed into buildings after a failed attempt to land at Magong airport.
The other 10 people on board were hurt. Two French nationals were among the dead, officials said. No crew members are thought to have survived.
Family members were flying to Penghu on Thursday, Taiwan media said.
Minister of Transportation Yeh Kuang-shih and aviation officials also flew to the island to start an investigation into the disaster, Taiwan’s CNA news agency said.
The ATR-72 TransAsia Airways plane crashed as it flew from Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung to Penghu, a popular tourist destination in the Taiwan Strait.
Magong is the main city in Penghu, which consists of a main island and several smaller islands off the west coast of Taiwan.
TransAsia Airways plane, carrying 58 people, crashed into buildings after a failed attempt to land at Magong airport (photo NY Times)
It was Taiwan’s first fatal air crash in more than a decade and came after Typhoon Matmo struck, bringing torrential rain and high wind.
The plane crashed on its second attempt to land at the airport. It lost contact with controllers after telling them it was going around again. The aircraft then came down in Xixi village outside the airport.
Images late on Wednesday night showed firefighters dousing flames at the scene and and using torches to rescue injured passengers.
Five Penghu residents were injured on the ground but by Thursday morning all had been discharged from hospital, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
Official said visibility at the time of the crash was one mile and within acceptable standards for landing, despite the storm.
Airline representative Phoebe Lu told the Associated Press news agency that TransAsia suspected that typhoon weather had caused the crash but was awaiting the results of the investigation.
But Jean Shen, director of the CAA, said nine flights travelled that route between 14:00 and 19:00 on Wednesday.
“The weather reports showed it was totally OK for landing. We can not say for sure what went wrong at this point,” Reuters news agency quoted her as saying.
The transport minister, meanwhile, addressed questions over why the flight was allowed to go ahead.
“Many people were questioning why the plane took off in typhoon weather… according to my understanding the meteorology data showed that it met the aviation safety requirements,” Yeh Kunag-shis said.
TransAsia, a private airline, flies domestic routes in Taiwan and international routes in North and South-East Asia. The airline has apologized and says it will compensate relatives of those on board.
One Chinese worker is dead and at least 90 other people injured after protesters attacked a steel mill in Vietnam, amid anti-China tensions over the South China Sea dispute.
The incident took place at a Taiwanese-owned mill in Ha Tinh province.
It came a day after protesters burnt several foreign-owned factories at an industrial park.
The demonstrations have been sparked by China’s movement of a drilling rig into waters also claimed by Vietnam.
Nationalist sentiment in Vietnam is currently running very high over the South China Sea dispute (photo AFP/Getty Images)
Several anti-China protests have since taken place in Vietnam. Nationalist sentiment is currently running very high over the issue, correspondents say.
Protesters appear to have targeted businesses with Chinese characters in their signs, even if they are from other countries such as Taiwan.
The Chinese embassy in Vietnam on Thursday urged Chinese nationals to take precautions, in the second such statement in as many days.
“We once again remind all Chinese in Vietnam to take safety precautions, increase self-protection, and avoid leaving home unnecessarily,” said the statement posted on the embassy’s website.
It said that “Chinese businesses and workers have been the targets of violence” in at least seven cities or provinces across Vietnam. The embassy said it had asked Vietnamese authorities to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens.
On Tuesday, at least 15 foreign-owned factories were set on fire at industrial parks in Binh Duong province, and hundreds more attacked. No casualties were reported.
Some Taiwanese have begun leaving the country.
The latest incident happened overnight at a huge steel plant owned by Formosa Plastics Group.
Taiwan’s envoy in Vietnam said one Chinese worker was killed and 90 other people injured.
A local police official also confirmed this account.
“One Chinese worker is dead. We are trying to identify the body,” he told AFP news agency.
In a statement quoted by Reuters news agency, the company said its Vietnamese and Taiwanese workers were not attacked.
Taiwan’s envoy told AFP news agency that rioters forced Chinese workers into a corner of the factory. “The rioters have gone but we are all still concerned they might come back,” he said.
Doctors at Ha Tinh General Hospital told agencies several Chinese patients were being treated for injuries.
On Wednesday, Vietnamese authorities said at least 200 people had been arrested over the violence at the industrial park in Binh Duong.
China’s tourism body has urged its nationals to “carefully consider” any travel to Vietnam.
China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig was brought into waters west of the disputed Paracel Islands earlier this month, leading to collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese ships as Vietnam sought to block the move.
China claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea, including several areas that its South East Asian neighbors say belong to them.
In recent years it has started to enforce these claims more assertively, leading to severely strained ties with the Philippines and Vietnam in particular.
The Philippines is currently taking China to a UN court to try to resolve the issue.
Gambia has announced that it has severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
President Yahya Jammeh’s office said the move was for reasons of “national strategic interest”.
Gambia was one of a few African countries to recognize Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory.
Correspondents say it is unclear if the move is linked to the development of relations with China, which has a growing influence in Africa.
Despite the announcement, Yahya Jammeh said Gambia hoped to “remain friends” with the Taiwanese people.
“This decision has been taken in our strategic national interest,” a statement from his office read, without elaborating.
“We are proud that we have been a very strong and reliable partner of the Republic of China [Taiwan] for the past 18 years, the results of which are there for every Taiwanese to see.
“Despite the end of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, we will still remain friends with the people of Taiwan.”
Gambia has decided to cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan
Taiwan said it was surprised by Gambia’s decision.
“Our government express shock and regret that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh sent a letter to our embassy in Gambia on 14 November to inform us [of] the immediate termination of ties,” Vice Foreign Minister Simon Ko said in Taipei.
“We think this is Jammeh’s personal decision,” he added.
China has been investing heavily in Africa at it relies on the continent for oil and other natural resources.
China and Taiwan split in 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party overthrew the Republic of China (ROC) and founded the People’s Republic on the mainland, forcing the ROC government to retreat to Taiwan. Beijing says Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.
Initially, most African states recognized the Taipei government but their number has steadily declined.
Gambia’s decision means that Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe and Burkina Faso are the only African countries that remain allies with Taiwan.
However, earlier this week officials in Sao Tome and Principe said China plans to open a trade mission to promote projects there.
It comes 16 years after Beijing broke off relations with the tiny Central African nation over its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.
Typhoon Soulik has hit Taiwan, bringing strong winds and torrential rain to the island.
So far one person is reported to have died while 21 have been injured in the extreme weather.
More than 8,500 people have been evacuated from mountainous and other dangerous areas and thousands of soldiers have been deployed.
Typhoon Soulik is set to arrive in mainland China’s eastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang later on Saturday.
Local authorities there have been asked to implement emergency response plans, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported, after recent torrential rain across large parts of the country reportedly left 200 people dead or missing.
Typhoon Soulik, a medium-force typhoon, had wind speeds of around 100 mph on Saturday morning.
It made landfall at around 03:00 local time on Saturday, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau reported.
A police officer was killed by falling bricks but other people suffered mostly light injuries, including from fallen trees or being blown off their scooters.
Typhoon Soulik has hit Taiwan, bringing strong winds and torrential rain to the island
The strong winds and heavy rain have caused electricity disruptions, a run on food and essential supplies in supermarkets, and uprooted trees and signs in some areas.
This typhoon is the first to hit Taiwan this year and there had been fears of major damage because the island was the first place it made landfall.
Nearly 50,000 soldiers have been put on standby.
Schools and offices in Taipei and several other cities had closed on Friday afternoon as the tropical storm neared.
Some flights to Taiwan have been disrupted, with both Cathay Pacific and China Airlines announcing cancellations.
Precautionary measures have been taken to close the roads and bridges along areas most susceptible to disaster, officials said.
Fishing boats had been returned to the shore before the typhoon hit, and members of the public were urged to avoid mountain and coastal areas.
Evacuated residents – including 3,000 from Kaohsiung city and 2,000 from Pingtung county in the south of Taiwan – have been taken to local government buildings that have been turned into shelters, AFP reported.
More than 2,000 tourists had earlier been evacuated from Taiwan’s Green Island, near the city of Taitung, as a precaution.
Typhoons are common during the summer in parts of East Asia, where the warm moist air and low pressure conditions enable tropical cyclones to form.
In 2009, Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Morakot, which left hundreds dead in floods and mudslides.