Mon, Mar 04, 2013 - Page 3 News List

CGA denies reports that it stopped island patrols

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday rebutted a Japanese newspaper report alleging that the coast guard had stopped sending ships to patrol an area close to the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) after being pressured by the US.

The CGA said it had never stopped making daily patrols of the area.

The Japanese Sankei Shimbun yesterday reported that the US, under pressure from Japan, had urged the Taiwanese government to stop sending coast guard vessels on patrols near the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan, where they are known as the Senkaku.

The newspaper said that after a Taiwanese ships made two patrols near the islands on Jan. 24 and Jan. 26, the Japanese government protested Taiwan’s actions and appealed to the US to “restrain” Taiwan.

The newspaper citied anonymous Japanese government officials saying that since Jan. 27, Taiwanese coast guard ships had not come within 24 nautical miles (44km) of the islands.

However, the CGA said in a press statement yesterday that it dispatches a ship to patrol close by the 24 nautical mile mark every day, adding that if a Taiwanese fishing boat sailed within 24 nautical miles of the islets, the coast guard ship would follow and protect the fishing boat.

It said the CGA remained determined to protect the nation’s sovereignty over the islands and that Taiwan would not cooperate with China in the dispute.

The CGA said that it is almost impossible for Taiwanese fishing boats to operate near the Diaoyutais during the winter due to rough seas and winds.

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