- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2022

Taiwan suffered a widespread electrical blackout on Thursday and the power outage disrupted a meeting between former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

The blackout affected seven cities including the capital of Taipei and reached the southern port of Kaohsiung, news reports from Taiwan said. 

The outage occurred as Mr. Pompeo met with Ms. Tsai at the presidential palace. Although power was not affected there, a planned webcast was canceled. 

Mr. Pompeo has been a target of Chinese government vitriol for his policies during the Trump administration that took a tough line on Beijing and distinguished between the Chinese people and the ruling Community Party. During the meeting Wednesday morning, Mr. Pompeo was given a medal for his contribution to improving U.S.-Taiwan relations. 

The power outage triggered traffic snarls and caused many people to be trapped in elevators. 

Taiwan Power Co. stated in a brief statement that a malfunction of equipment in the southern power grid caused the blackout in southern Taiwan. A cascading effect resulted in outages in central and northern Taiwan.

The malfunction occurred within the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung, the largest power plant in the area. 

Taiwan Power and Taiwan officials did not say whether the outage had been the result of a cyber attack. 

China is known to have cyberattack capabilities capable of disrupting power supplies. 

Taiwan News reported that the power outage took place as Mr. Pompeo was traveling by motorcade to the presidential palace. Police had to direct the motorcade through traffic.

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

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