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Taiwan undeterred by China's new maritime rule: Coast Guard

06/19/2024 10:09 PM
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A Taiwan Coast Guard vessel is docked at the a base in New Taipei. CNA file photo
A Taiwan Coast Guard vessel is docked at the a base in New Taipei. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 19 (CNA) A new regulation implemented by the China Coast Guard last week will not affect Taiwan enforcing the law at sea, the country's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Wednesday.

The new regulation, which took force on June 15, allows the China Coast Guard to board and hold vessels in waters it lays claim to and question and detain foreign nationals found to have violated its "exit and entry rules" for up to 60 days.

The China Coast Guard introduced the new regulation amid territorial disputes between Beijing and Manila near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The Philippines has accused the China Coast Guard of attempting to bar its fishing vessels from accessing its fishing grounds in the area by deploying water cannons and using ramming tactics.

China, in turn, has repeatedly accused the Philippines of ramming its vessels and insisted that it has the right to legally patrol the disputed waters off the Spratly Islands.

The new rule will not affect the CGA's law enforcement, which is carried out according to the Coast Guard Act and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, CGA Deputy Director-General Hsieh Ching-chin (謝慶欽) said at a news conference when asked by reporters about the matter.

China's Coast Guard has been entering Taiwan-controlled "prohibited and restricted waters" near the Kinmen Islands since the fatal capsize of an unnamed and unregistered Chinese speedboat on Feb. 14.

The vessel allegedly collided with a CGA patrol vessel and capsized in waters near Kinmen while being pursued, leading to the deaths of two Chinese crew members.

China has since sent coast guard vessels into the Taiwan-controlled waters, claiming it has the right to legally patrol the disputed area.

Hsieh said that the CGA has put into place principles while responding to contingencies at sea, which include guidelines on communicating with the armed forces of Taiwan and friendly nations.

According to CGA personnel, there have been no instances of China Coast Guard vessels entering the prohibited and restricted waters off Kinmen this month.

Hsieh said, however, an average of four Chinese coast guard vessels were spotted in waters near Kinmen every day in the first two weeks of June. They were all anchored in four zones around the Taiwan-controlled waters.

From February to May, he noted, Chinese coast guard fleets intruded into the prohibited and restricted waters near Kinmen on average five times a month.

The CGA will vigorously defend the rights and interests of Taiwan's fishing vessels and uphold national sovereignty and maritime safety, Hsieh added.

(By Sean Lin)

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