Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has ordered the island’s armed and security forces to step up their surveillance, remain alert for military activity in the region and strengthen combat readiness as tensions between Russia and Ukraine mount. Tsai, concerned about the worsening Ukraine situation, met top officials on Wednesday and sought counsel over how the self-ruled island should react and how the crisis would affect Taiwan . “We should continue to strengthen the combat readiness of our forces in the Taiwan Strait to ensure our safety,” she said. Tsai said the island could only react swiftly and manage contingencies by raising surveillance and being vigilant against military activity around Taiwan and in the Indo-Pacific region. There has been speculation that Beijing might seize the opportunity to attack Taiwan while the US and Europe have their attention on the Ukraine crisis. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province that must be taken under control, by force if necessary. Tsai asked that the island’s authorities be more alert against so-called cognitive warfare and do everything possible to tackle disinformation and thwart attempts by an “outside force” to use the Ukraine situation to unnerve the public and disrupt social stability. She also asked that government agencies keep the island’s financial markets stable and maintain steady prices, including those in commodities and stocks, to prevent the Ukraine crisis from affecting the island’s economy. Tsai condemned Russia for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and called for the two sides to resolve their disputes in a peaceful and rational manner. She said as a member of international society, Taiwan was willing to join efforts by others to help resolve the dispute peacefully. Some media outlets have compared the situation in Taiwan with that of Ukraine, which is facing military adventurism from Russia. Chinese ambassador warns US its strengthened Taiwan ties could lead to war On Saturday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a failure by Western nations to live up to their promises to support Ukraine’s independence would have damaging consequences worldwide, including for Taiwan. “If Ukraine is endangered, the shock will echo around the world. And those echoes will be heard in East Asia, will be heard in Taiwan,” he told a security conference in Munich. “People would draw the conclusion that aggression pays, and that might is right.” However in Beijing, the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office accused the Tsai government of attempting to compare the island with Ukraine to stoke anti-Beijing sentiment locally. “Democratic Progressive Party authorities have worked with the US and the Western world to use the Ukraine issue to play up so-called military threats [from China],” Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang told reporters on Wednesday. Ma said the independence-leaning DPP sought to “internationalise” the Taiwan issue and fan anti-mainland sentiment within the island. He said the move was “self-serving”. “The tensions in the Taiwan Strait are rooted in the attempt by the DPP and its separatist force to collaborate with outside forces to seek independence [for Taiwan],” Ma said. Tsai said she expressed empathy for Ukraine’s situation because the island faced a military threat from the mainland but Ma said there was no parallel between Ukraine and Taiwan. Wen-Ti Sung, a lecturer on international relations and China at the Australian National University, said Taiwan was observing the Ukraine crisis with trepidation. “On the one hand, polls show the majority of Taiwanese are not worried about the scenario of simultaneous Chinese military adventurism in the Taiwan Strait during the Ukraine crisis. On the other, Taiwan will be concerned about whether further military escalation of the Ukraine crisis may entail two risks for Taiwan,” he said. What is the Russia-Europe Nord Stream 2 pipeline? “First, it may sap the United States’ resources and attention away from the Indo-Pacific, especially the Taiwan Strait and second, it may weaken Western unity by exposing the US and its European allies’ different geopolitical [focuses],” Sung said. “Should the US be seen as indecisive or indifferent to European security in Ukraine, it may diminish European resolve to help the US in the Indo-Pacific in the future.” In a survey released on Tuesday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, 63 per cent of Taiwanese said they believed Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine would not lead the PLA to attack Taiwan. Only 27 per cent believed the PLA would do so.