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Taiwan seizes Chinese oil ship as Beijing steps up maritime harassment

Taiwan flag (Photo: Wikemedia Commons)

Taiwan has seized a Chinese oil transport and supply ship from its maritime border near the Penghu islands.

Taiwan News says that despite radio warnings by Taiwan Coast Guard, the Chinese vessel did not heed instructions after which Taiwanese personnel boarded the boat.

Taiwan has arrested the captain of the ship and six other crew members and put them to a Covid-19 test. They were taken back to Penghu while the vessel was disinfected.

This was a repeat of a similar incident last month, when a Taiwanese patrol boat had detected a Chinese fishing boat and ordered it to stop for inspection. However, the Chinese crew attempted a speedy getaway and threatened the coast guard officers by brandishing knives and iron rods.

Taiwanese personnel boarded the vessel and found 760 kg of fish which was dumped back into the ocean, the vessel was towed back to Penghu and the crew members tested negative for Covid-19.

Taiwan News says that the island nation keeps taking action against Chinese vessels for transgressing into Taiwanese waters and has issued fines worth $384,667 on Chinese vessels.

China has launched a hybrid and harassment warfare against Taiwan, which is barely 160 kms away from its south-east coast. Gigantic Chinese dredgers suck away sand from near Taiwan's coastline, damaging its ecology and impacting its marine environment.

Besides maritime harassment, Beijing has also increased the violation of Taiwanese airspace. In one such incident it had flown 28 fighter jets into Taiwanese Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) a few months back.

With China upping its propaganda against Taiwan, along with military belligerence, the latter has sought support from Japan and the US. Taiwan, a seven-decade old democracy fears an outright military assault from the communist regime. To safeguard its interests, it has procured weapons from the US and improved technological and trade ties with Washington.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had, in his address at the centenary celebrations of the Communist Party of China (CPC) threatened to invade Taiwan and made it a part of China under its One China Policy (OCP). Reacting to the threats, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) instead asked China to push for democratic reforms and promote regional peace.

The G7 nations in their summit in the UK this year too had urged China to make peace with Taiwan and resolve its differences through talks.