Taiwan urges China to release seized fishing boat

Taiwan urges China to release seized fishing boat

/ 04:39 PM July 03, 2024

Taiwan urges China to release seized fishing boat

People hire boats for fishing near the Kinmen island on May 25, 2024. After a night at sea, fishers unloaded their haul on a port in Kinmen on May 24, saying there was “no real impact” from war games that Chinese forces were running around self-ruled Taiwan. FILE PHOTO/Agence France-Presse

TAIPEI — Taiwan has called on China to release a fishing boat carrying five people that it said was seized by the Chinese coast guard in waters near Taiwanese outlying islands.

The Chinese coast guard has stepped up patrols around Taiwan’s Kinmen islands in recent months after a series of deadly fishing accidents, one of which led to bitter blame-trading between the two sides.


The Kinmen islands are administered by Taipei but are located just five kilometers (three miles) from the Chinese mainland.


READ: Taiwan says China’s coast guard has detained a Taiwanese fishing vessel

Taiwan’s coast guard said it received a report at 08:14 pm (1214 GMT) on Tuesday from the owner of a fishing boat that two Chinese coast guard vessels had intercepted it around 23.7 nautical miles (44 kilometers) from Kinmen’s Liaoluo port.

It dispatched two patrol vessels “to try to rescue” the fishing boat, along with a third for assistance, but one was “blocked by” Chinese coast guard ships, Taiwan’s coast guard said in a statement late Tuesday.

“To avoid escalating the conflict, we have decided to stop the chase,” the coast guard said, adding the fishing boat was taken to China’s Weitou port.

READ: Taiwan detects 35 Chinese aircraft around island

Taiwan coast guard officials told a news conference on Wednesday that there were two Taiwanese and three Indonesians onboard the boat.


A Chinese coast guard spokesman said a Taiwanese fishing boat suspected of illegal fishing off the coast of Quanzhou was inspected and detained on Tuesday.

“The fishing vessel has violated the regulation of the seasonal fishing ban, and illegally trawled… within the prohibited fishing area,” Liu Dejun said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Chinese coast guard had warned and expelled “relevant” Taiwanese vessels that “attempted to interfere with” its law enforcement operation at the time, he added.

Release the boat

Taiwan’s deputy coast guard chief Hsieh Ching-chin said the boat was seized within China’s territorial waters, in an area where Beijing has declared a seasonal fishing ban between May 1 to August 15.

“We hope that the Chinese side will tell us as soon as possible for the reason of the inspection,” he said.

“We will actively request the Chinese side to release the boat and its crew as soon as possible through various channels”.

Another official said there were an estimated 50 to 60 fishing boats in the area and the “Da Jin Man 88” could have been “randomly picked”.

China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and has not renounced the use of force to bring the island under control.

It has ramped up pressure on the island in recent years and conducted military drills around the island days after the May 20 inauguration of new Taiwanese leader Lai Ching-te.

In February, the capsizing of a Chinese fishing boat while pursued by Taiwan’s coast guard further strained cross-strait relations, after a survivor reportedly said the boat was “rammed”.

But Taiwan insisted its coast guard was following legitimate procedures after the Chinese vessel entered “prohibited waters” and was zigzagging to evade the Taiwanese patrol.

According to Hsieh, 17 boats were previously inspected by China for violating its fishing ban, of which 11 were immediately released after paying fines and six “brought back by our side” after on-site negotiation.

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He added that Chinese coast guard fleets had sailed in Kinmen’s restricted waters 29 times between January and June.

TAGS: China, Taiwan

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