Taiwan Minister Urges Vessels to Ignore Chinese Coast Guard


Following a Taiwanese tour boat, the ‘King Xia,’ drifting into Chinese territorial waters, it was intercepted by a Chinese Coast Guard ship, prompting Kuan Bi-ling’s response….reports Asian Lite News

Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) Minister Kuan Bi-ling has said that Taiwanese vessels should not stop for Chinese coast guard ships after an incident involving a Taiwanese sightseeing boat, Taiwan News reported.

Kuan Bi-ling’s statement comes after a Taiwanese tour boat in Kinmen, the ‘King Xia,’ that strayed near Chinese territorial waters was intercepted by a Chinese Coast Guard ship and boarded by Chinese personnel on February 19.

Kuan Bi-ling on Tuesday called the incident “regrettable” and emphasised that Taiwanese vessels need not stop for Chinese coast guard ships and should instead get in touch with the Ocean Affairs Council for assistance, according to the Taiwan News report.

In her remarks at the Legislative Yuan session on Tuesday, Kuan said tour boat ‘King Xia’ was on a two-hour sightseeing trip in the waters around Kinmen. She said Chinese tour ships carried out similar trips in the area and Taiwan does not consider these journeys to be illegal activities.

She noted that if a tour boat from China crosses into Taiwanese waters, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) would consider it as a non-violating and unintentional entry and they would only request for it to leave.

She stated that the boarding of the Taiwanese vessel by the Chinese coast guard “caused people to panic, and was not in line with people’s interests.”

She said that King Xia had come relatively close to China’s territorial waters, based on the “peaceful situation in the strait and goodwill between the two sides,” and expressed regret over the incident. She stated that the standard operating procedure for inspecting Taiwanese vessels is clear, even if forcefully expelled from any sea area, as long as a fishing boat notifies the OAC, assistance will be provided.

Kuan said the CGA will deploy ships between the foreign vessel and the Taiwanese vessel, hoping to stop the foreign ship from carrying out inspections. She announced that her agency would educate Taiwanese ship captains not to stop if asked for inspection by Chinese coast guard ships and instead immediately notify the OAC.

According to Kuan, the CGA during the incident on Monday promptly responded upon seeing the situation over radar. She said that the CGA will assist whenever a vessel is spotted over radar, surveillance, and lookout systems, even if the vessel has not informed them. She stressed that this is not meant as a “challenge,” but rather as an effort to protect all people at sea, regardless of their nationality.

According to Taiwan News report, a Taiwanese cruise ship was escorted back to Kinmen Monday after being boarded and inspected by Chinese coast guard personnel, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), Focus Taiwan reported.

The sightseeing vessel King Xia which had 11 crew members and 23 passengers was 2.8 nautical miles northwest of Kinmen’s Wushajiao when it was intercepted by two Chinese coast guard boats at around 4:47 pm, the CGA said in a news release.

Six Chinese officers boarded the Taiwanese vessel and proceeded to inspect the boat asking to see the documents of crew members, it said, adding that the Chinese personnel then returned to their boats and left the King Xia at 5:19 pm, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

The PP-10039 coastguard patrol boat was dispatched to the scene when the Chinese coast guard boats were spotted on radar, the CGA said.

The vessel reached the King Xia at 5:33 pm and was escorted back to Shuitou Port from where it departed earlier in the afternoon for a tour around Kinmen waters, the Taiwanese coast guard said.

According to the CGA, the King Xia apparently veered slightly off course at the time due to the multiple shoals near Wushajiao.

The coast guard said in the past there have been many incidents in which Chinese tourist vessels entered Taiwan-held waters near Kinmen by mistake but it did not board them as it was clearly not deliberate and instead just issued warnings.

Meanwhile, the CGA called on China to uphold peace and rationality and jointly maintain tranquility in the waters around Xiamen and Kinmen. At the same time, it also reminded Taiwanese operators to avoid going near Chinese waters when engaging in maritime-related activities. (ANI)


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