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Taiwan summons Indonesian envoy over fishing boat incidents

2018/04/18 12:10:15

Da Wei No. 13 (大鮪13)/file photo (photo courtesy of the public)

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday summoned Indonesia's top envoy to Taiwan to express concern over Jakarta's recent inspections of Taiwanese fishing vessels without proper cause.

Winston Chen (陳文儀), director-general of the MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, met with representative Robert James Bintaryo on Wednesday morning and called on Indonesian authorities not to inspect and detain Taiwanese fishing vessels without a valid reason.

When approached by a CNA reporter as he was leaving MOFA headquarters following the meeting, Bintaryo said he had no comment on the issue as he was still waiting for instructions from Jakarta.

Indonesian authorities have boarded and inspected eight Taiwanese fishing vessels since the conclusion of Lunar New Year long break in mid-February, according to Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平).

Those vessels were all "innocently" passing through and not operating in the Strait of Malacca in Indonesia's territorial waters, and Indonesia's moves were in violation of Article 44 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Lin told CNA.

Article 44 of the convention stipulates that "states bordering straits shall not hamper transit passage and shall give appropriate publicity to any danger to navigation or overflight within or over the strait of which they have knowledge. There shall be no suspension of transit passage."

In all eight cases, the Taiwanese boats later cleared inspections, Lin said.

The most recent case happened on Sunday when the Da Wei No. 13 (大鮪13), based in Donggang, Pingtung County, was detained and investigated by Indonesian authorities while traveling through the Strait of Malacca before being released a day later.

(By Joseph Yeh)