Two patrol boats yesterday left Kaohsiung for international waters near the Okinotori atoll in the Western Pacific in response to a directive from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to protect Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the area.
The deployment of a Coast Guard Administration (CGA) ship and one belonging to the Fisheries Agency came after a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Tung Sheng Chi No. 16, was seized on Monday last week by the Japan Coast Guard while operating in waters about 150 nautical miles (228km) from the uninhabited atoll.
The boat and its crew were released the following day after the boat’s owner paid a security deposit demanded by Japanese authorities.
Japan claims a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone around the atoll, which it says is an island, but which Taiwan says is a reef and therefore is not entitled to anything more than a 500m “security zone.”
Taiwan lodged a protest with Japan and Ma instructed government agencies to step up protection for fishermen operating in waters near the atoll.
Coast guard officials told a news conference before the ships departed that the agency would adopt the principles of no evasion, no confrontation and no provocation in its protection of Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the area.
Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times
However, CGA Deputy Director-General Yao Chou-tien (姚洲典) said that Taiwan would respond should Japan use water cannons or take unfriendly action against Taiwanese fishing vessels, adding that he hopes protection of fishing rights would be enforced peacefully and rationally.
The coast guard vessel is equipped with automatic cannons and machine guns.
Yao said the deployment conforms with the principle of freedom of fishing on the high seas stipulated in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and is part of the CGA’s routine patrol missions.
The two patrol boats have LED display boards showing a scrolling message: “We are exercising the freedom of fishing. Do not disturb,” in Chinese, English and Japanese.
It is expected to take them three to five days to reach the atoll.
Yao said the fishery protection program would last for one month.
There are 100 to 200 fishing boats from the port of Suao (蘇澳) in Yilan County and Pingtung County’s Donggang (東港) and Siaoliouciou (小琉球) operating in the area, according to Lin Ding-rong (林頂榮), director of the Fisheries Agency’s Deep Sea Fisheries Division.
TAIWAN PROTECTION MEASURE: US Army General Charles Flynn would not say where in the Asia-Pacific the missiles would be sent, but only that they would arrive in 2024 The US is to send medium-range missiles including the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk to the Asia-Pacific next year to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US military news Web site Defense One reported. The report cited comments US Army General Charles Flynn made during the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Nov. 19. “We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Flynn was quoted as saying. “In 24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and