Wed, May 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

SEF issues second warning to China over research ship

CNA , TAIPEI

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) yesterday sent a message again to its Chinese counterpart, asking a Chinese survey ship that has trespassed into Taiwan's exclusive economic zone to leave immediately.

The foundation sent a message to the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) on Monday, notifying it that the Fen Dou No. 4 of China's Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, was conducting survey operations around 185.2km off the southwestern coast of Taiwan.

Noting that the ship is in Taiwan's exclusive economic zone, and that any activities related to surveying or exploration must be approved beforehand according to the nation's law, the foundation has asked -- via ARATS -- the ship to leave.

Foundation officials said that they had notified ARATS the previous day about the matter, but the ship is continuing to operate in Taiwanese waters.

The government has used diplomacy to resolve the problem, but according to officials, "necessary measures" will be used if the vessels does not leave.

The officials urged ARATS to ask the ship leave for the sake of a harmonious atmosphere in the Taiwan Strait.

A Coast Guard Administration (CGA) cutter first spotted a flotilla comprising the Fen Dou No. 4 along with two other ships 168.5km southwest of Kaohsiung at around 5:30pm on Sunday. The flotilla seemed to be engaged in surveying and other unidentified activities and the CGA cutter immediately demanded that they leave the area.

It was the second time in a month that a Chinese survey ship has sailed into Taiwan's exclusive economic zone for research. The Tanbao made a similar incursion May 3.

The Tanbao was surveying for petroleum and gas reserves beneath the waters surrounding the Tungsha (Pratas) Islands.

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