China ramps up coast guard ships in Taiwan waters as tensions rise over fishermen deaths | World | News

February 18, 2024
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In the aftermath of the tragic drowning of two Chinese fishermen during an altercation with the Taiwanese coast guard near the Kinmen archipelago, tensions between China and Taiwan have reached a new high.

China has responded by deploying additional coast guard ships to the waters off the southern coast of Xiamen, just a few kilometres from Kinmen.

The move, announced by the Chinese Coast Guard’s Fujian division spokesperson, Gan Yu, aims to strengthen maritime law enforcement in the region. Residents of Kinmen have raised concerns about the environmental impact and economic losses to their fishing livelihoods due to the increased activity.

The incident leading to the fishermen’s deaths occurred on Wednesday when the Taiwanese Coast Guard chased a Chinese fishing boat, accusing it of trespassing in a restricted area claimed by Taiwan. The boat capsized, resulting in the drowning of two fishermen, while two others were taken into custody by Taiwanese authorities.

In response to the tragedy, China issued a strong condemnation, placing blame on Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party and disputing the existence of any “restricted” waters in the area.

Taiwan, in turn, initiated an investigation into the incident and is in communication with Chinese authorities through its Mainland Affairs Council.

The Taiwan Affairs Office in China, headed by spokesperson Zhu Fenglian, declared on Sunday that further measures would be taken without providing specific details.

“The Mainland reserves the right to take further action, and all the consequences will be borne by Taiwan,” warned Zhu Fenglian, raising concerns about the potential escalation of the conflict.

The longstanding tension between China and Taiwan is rooted in historical and political divisions.

While Taiwan considers itself a separate entity since the 1949 civil war, China regards the island as an integral part of its territory.

Beijing has not ruled out the use of military force to achieve reunification, a threat that has been growing in recent months, raising concerns about regional stability.



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