After fatal boat accident: China provokes Taiwan with unusual control

After a fatal boat accident
China is provoking Taiwan with unusual control

A Taiwan Coast Guard ship pursues a Chinese fishing boat in the Taiwan Strait. The boat capsizes, two sailors die. Beijing is now increasing its presence in the region and controlling a Taiwanese tourist boat – an affront to Taipei.

The death of two Chinese fishermen in the strait between China and Taiwan has further deteriorated relations between the two countries. Taiwan’s Prime Minister Chen Chien-jen appealed to both sides to prevent fishing boats from illegally entering protected waters. Meanwhile, China is having its coast guard patrol the region more frequently and in return is checking Taiwanese boats.

The dispute between Beijing and Taipei was triggered by the capsizing of a Chinese fishing boat near the Taiwanese island of Kinmen last Wednesday, in which two sailors died. According to Taiwanese sources, the boat’s crew tried to evade coast guard inspection and their boat capsized during the subsequent pursuit. Two sailors were rescued.

Kinmen is located just a few kilometers from the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen. According to Chen, Taiwan established restricted and restricted areas in the waters there in 1992. China does not recognize these and speaks of “traditional fishing areas”.

The Chinese Office for Taiwan Affairs spoke of a “malicious incident” after the boat capsized and called for clarification. Spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian on Monday called on Taiwan to cooperate in the case. On Tuesday, relatives of the surviving sailors arrived in Kinmen to pick them up.

China is increasing controls in the region

After the accident, China increased its coast guard presence in the region. According to Taiwanese news agency CNA, Chinese officials boarded a Taiwanese tourist boat carrying 23 passengers and 11 crew members to inspect it on Monday. Such controls are rare – and are viewed by Taiwan as a violation of its own sovereignty.

China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and is threatening to conquer the island republic by force, even though there has been an independent and democratically elected government there for decades. The relationship between the two countries has therefore been tense for many years. Almost every day, Chinese fighter jets cross the unofficial median line in the strait as a show of force. Beijing has already announced several times that it will force reunification with Taiwan using military means if necessary.

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