TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's Defense Ministry mistranslated an alert into English on Tuesday, saying China had launched a missile instead of a satellite and urging caution days before the island's elections.
Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday that China has described as a choice between war and peace.
The bilingual alert sent to residents' mobile phones cautioned in English that there was a missile flyover. The Defense Ministry later issued a statement apologizing to the public for the faulty English translation and clarifying that China had launched a rocket carrying a satellite — not a missile.
The ministry said the Chinese rocket flew over southern Taiwan at high altitude.
Chinese state media said the country launched a satellite called Einstein with a Long March 2C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China. Broadcaster CCTV said the satellite entered orbit and the launch was a success.
The alerts went off in the middle of an international news conference by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. He clarified it was a satellite launch, told journalists not to worry, and proceeded with the news conference.
“We need to stay responsible; we need to stay moderate in order to prevent (a) conflict from happening between Taiwan and China,” he said.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who was in the southern city of Kaohsiung, urged the public…