Taiwan Condemns Invasion of Five Chinese Vessels near Kinmen Islands

Taiwan Condemns Invasion of Five Chinese Vessels near Kinmen Islands

The Taiwanese Government expressed strong condemnation on Tuesday following the unauthorized entry of five Chinese vessels into the waters surrounding the Kinmen Islands, a territory under Taipei’s jurisdiction. This incident occurred after two Chinese fishermen tragically lost their lives more than a week ago when their fishing boat overturned during a chase by the Taiwanese coast guard.

Details from the Taiwan Maritime Commission revealed that the fleet of unauthorized vessels consisted of a supervisory ship and four other boats belonging to China’s Coast Guard. They reportedly trespassed into a forbidden and restricted zone in the Kinmen waters on Monday. The Commission, however, noted that the incursion was brief.

The Coast Guard employed public address systems to communicate with the Chinese vessels, advising them to vacate the area immediately. This area is a strategic location, lying just a few kilometers southeast of Xiamen, a Chinese city, as reported by the ‘United Daily News’ newspaper.

Taiwanese authorities have interpreted these provocative actions by Beijing as a clear indication of their intention to reassert their claim of sovereignty over the territory. Chiu Kuo Cheng, Taiwan’s Defense Minister, revealed that the coast guard had been keeping a close watch on the unfolding situation. He underscored the real threat posed by these actions to Taiwanese forces stationed on land.

The death of the two Chinese fishermen has escalated the tension between Taiwan and China. According to Taiwanese accounts, the fishing vessel attempted to dodge a routine inspection by the coast guard. In the ensuing chase, the boat capsized. China, on the other hand, has labeled the incident as ‘malicious’ and has demanded a detailed explanation.

On February 20, in response to the incident, Taiwanese authorities urged the Chinese government to respond in a rational and fair manner to what they regarded as an unfortunate incident. Since then, Beijing has voiced its intention to amplify controls and patrols in response to the incident. In contrast, Taiwanese Prime Minister Chen Chien Jen reiterated that the coast guard would continue to uphold its duty to protect the territorial waters of the island.