Taiwan spots four Chinese coast guard ships in restricted waters off Kinmen Island

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

The Taiwan Coast Guard (CGA) on Tuesday spotted four China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in restricted waters off the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands, the Central News Agency (CNA) reports.

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The intrusion was reported to the CGA's Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu branch just after 5 a.m. (local time). The CGA's Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu branch said it sent three patrol boats to track the Chinese vessels and collect evidence until they left the area at 8 a.m. (local time).

The branch said four Chinese boats numbered 14609, 14603, 14513 and 14605 entered the restricted zone from the east of Beiding Island and south of Fuxing Island respectively and flew for about two hours, CNA reported.

Taiwan's CGA stressed that the Chinese Coast Guard's actions do not maintain relations between Kinmen and Xiamen, nor do they promote regional stability. However, the China Coast Guard (CCG) said its actions were lawful as it had increased patrols in the waters around Kinmen in June.

It described the attack as an effort to “further strengthen its national security” [China’s] The CCG said in a statement posted on a WeChat message group that the move was aimed at ensuring residents' fishing rights as well as the safety of life and property in China's territory, which it claimed “includes Taiwan”, reports the Central News Agency (CNA).

The CCG's move is seen as a response to the deaths of two Chinese nationals on February 14, when a Chinese speedboat pursued by CGA personnel for illegally entering Taiwanese waters capsized near Kinmen Island. Two of the four crew members died after falling into the water.

China has increased its activities in the region following the deaths of the crew members, with an average of five ships each month entering the restricted waters around the Taiwan-controlled island, CNA reports.

Earlier on May 6, four Chinese coast guard ships entered territorial waters off the Kinmen coast and were repelled by Taiwanese coast guard ships, Taiwan News reported.

The Taiwan Coast Guard said Chinese coast guard ships Nos. 14608, 14604, 14512 and 14603 entered Kinmen waters at 3:30pm local time. The Chinese ships withdrew at 4:37pm after the coast guard dispatched three patrol boats.

The coast guard said that the Chinese coast guard has recently been sending ships to the southern waters of Kinmen. Coast guard personnel have deployed patrol boats to intercept and drive away Chinese ships.

The coast guard said the waters south of Kinmen are busy with maritime traffic and are an important route, with many ships sailing to and from ports, entering and departing them, and anchored awaiting entry into port, Taiwan News reported.

The coast guard said the high-speed navigation of Chinese coast guard ships in these waters has “seriously disrupted trans-strait peace and stability, affecting maritime safety and traffic order.”

It urged China to cease these actions and “uphold the principle of reciprocity and mutual respect to jointly maintain maritime order and ensure the safety and well-being of people on both sides of the Strait”.

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