Taiwan, Japan coast guards clash in radio spat

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Oct 02, 2012 - Page 3

Coast guard vessels from Taiwan and Japan yesterday briefly sparred near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea.

The argument via wireless communications came roughly a week after the two sides clashed using water cannons on Sept. 25.

The spat happened at around 8am when the Lienchiang Coast Guard Administration patrol vessel was protecting two Taiwanese fishing boats in waters about 20 nautical miles (37km) off the Diaoyutais, Coast Guard Administration Deputy Secretary-General Wang Chung-yi (王崇儀) said.

Japan’s coast guard started the exchange by instructing the Taiwanese ships to leave, claiming they had entered Japan’s territorial waters, Wang said during a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

In response, crew members aboard the 500-tonne Lienjiang told their Japanese counterparts via wireless communications that the area is an exclusive economic zone that belongs to Taiwan and they were there to protect Taiwanese fishermen, Wang said.

Wang said Taiwanese and Japanese coast guard vessels had remained in the area to monitor the situation, but neither side had taken any confrontational action.

Japanese news media also reported the incident, saying a Taiwanese coast guard vessel had rejected the demand to leave the waters near the Diaoyutais via wireless communication.