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Taiwan monitors four China Coast Guard vessels in restricted waters off Kinmen Islands

Representative Image (Photo: ANI)

Taiwan’s Coast Guard (CGA) on Tuesday monitored four China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in restricted waters off the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The intrusion was reported to the CGA’s Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch sometime after 5 am (local time). CGA’s Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch said that they dispatched three patrol boats to keep a watch on the Chinese vessels and collect evidence until they left the area at 8 am (local time).

The branch said that four Chinese boats, numbered 14609, 14603, 14513, and 14605, paired up and respectively entered the restricted area from east of Beiding Island and south of Fuxing Island for sorties that lasted about two hours, CNA reported.

Taiwan’s CGA stressed that the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard do not maintain the ties between Kinmen and Xiamen, nor do they advance regional stability. However, the China Coast Guard (CCG) said its actions were legal since it stepped up patrols in the waters around Kinmen in June.

Calling its intrusion an effort to “further strengthen [China’s] control of the waters,” the CCG in a statement posted on the WeChat message group stated that the move was aimed at ensuring residents’ fishing rights as well as life and property security within China’s territory, which it claimed “includes Taiwan,” Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The CCG’s move is being 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 the Kinmen Islands. Two of the four crew members died after they were thrown into the water.

China has intensified its activity in the area after the death of crew members, with a monthly average of around five vessels entering restricted waters around the Taiwan-controlled island, according to CNA report.

Earlier on May 6, four Chinese coast guard ships entered territorial waters off the coast of Kinmen before being driven out by Taiwan Coast Guard vessels, Taiwan News reported.

Taiwan’s Coast Guard said Chinese Coast Guard vessels numbered 14608, 14604, 14512, and 14603 navigated into Kinmen’s territorial waters at 3:30 pm (local time). After the Coast Guard dispatched three patrol boats the Chinese vessels withdrew at 4:37 pm.

The Coast Guard said the Chinese coast guard has recently been sailing ships into the waters south of Kinmen. Coast Guard personnel have positioned and dispatched patrol boats to intercept and drive away the Chinese vessels.

The Coast Guard said the waters south of Kinmen are busy with maritime traffic, serving as a crucial thoroughfare, with numerous vessels navigating, entering, and departing ports, as well as anchoring while awaiting port entry, Taiwan News reported.

The high-speed navigation by Chinese Coast Guard vessels in these waters has “severely disrupted cross-strait peace and stability, affecting maritime safety and traffic order,” said the Coast Guard.

It urged China to cease these actions and to “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.”