President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has instructed the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) to add the name “Taiwan” to its patrol vessels to increase the nation’s international visibility at sea, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said yesterday.
Chang’s statement came after the Chinese-language United Daily News reported earlier that the CGA was ordered by “high-level security officials” to add the name “Taiwan” next to the “Republic of China Coast Guard” designation on patrol vessels.
While the CGA initially denied having received such instructions, Chang said in a statement that the so-called “high-level security official” was Tsai.
Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration via CNA
At the launch of a new coast guard vessel — the Anping (安平) — in Kaohsiung on Dec. 11 last year, Tsai said that the vessel was good, but would be better if it were marked with “Taiwan,” so that coast guard personnel would be more clearly recognized by the international community when enforcing the law at sea, Chang said.
Nearly 300,000 foreign-flagged vessels sail the seas surrounding Taiwan every year, he said.
Coast guard personnel are tasked with patrolling the nation’s territorial waters and combating maritime crimes, he said, adding that they drove away many illegal dredging vessels operating near Lienchang County’s Matsu last year.
They are more burdened after China on Feb. 1 enforced its China Coast Guard Law, he said.
The legislation empowers Chinese coast guard personnel to inspect foreign vessels in waters claimed by China and use weapons — hand-held, ship borne or airborne — on foreign vessels.
Using the name “Taiwan” on CGA vessels would allow coast guard personnel to be better recognized and do their job more safely, Chang said, adding that “no provocation” and “no surrender” remain the government’s abiding positions.
The CGA said that it began adding the name “Taiwan” on some vessels last month, while 225 have yet to have the name added.
Senior adviser to the president Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) applauded Tsai’s move.
Taiwanese consciousness is lacking in the nation and people are glad to see that Tsai is willing to lead Taiwan to become normalized, Koo said in a news release yesterday.
However, Koo also said he hoped that Tsai would modify the Constitution, which is grounded in the “one China” concept, or Taiwan would not be able to break free of its global predicament and the “one China” framework.
Additional reporting by CNA
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