The Coast Guard Administration has stepped up patrols in the disputed South China Sea after local fishermen complained that they were harassed and robbed by Vietnamese pirates, it was reported yesterday.
The move came as the nation is building a runway on Itu Abu, known as Taiping Island, in the disputed Spratly chain, known locally as the Nansha Islands, sparking protests from Vietnam.
The coast guard, whose patrol vessels previously sailed to the Pratas Islands, known locally as the Dongsha Islands, once every month, have extended patrols to the disputed Paracel Islands, known locally as the Sisha Islands, which are about 1,100km from Taiwan, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) said.
The Pratas Islands are some 455km from Taiwan.
The new patrol area also covers waters off the disputed Macclesfield Bank, or Zhongsha Islands, it said.
"There were frequent reports of pirates ransacking fishing and cargo vessels sailing through that area," Cheng Chang-hsiung, head of the Maritime Patrol Directorate General, told the daily.
"Local fishermen also complained that their fishing nets and catches were stolen by Vietnamese fishermen," Cheng said.
However, Taiwanese fishermen were unenthusiastic about the expanded coast guard patrol, saying it did little to protect local fishing boats operating off the Spratlys, a major fishing ground for about 200 fishing vessels from southern Taiwan.
In January, Taiwan rejected Vietnam's demand that it stop building a runway on Itu Abu.
Vietnam's foreign ministry had described the building of the runway as a "severe violation of Vietnam's sovereignty."
They also said it would have a negative impact on peace, stability and regional cooperation.
Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim all or part of the potentially oil-rich Spratlys. All except Brunei have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls. The island chain has a land mass of less than 5km2.
Also see story:
A greener plan for Taiping Island
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu