The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said that it monitored all maritime activity in the Taiwan Strait and dismissed a news report that the armed forces had failed to recognize a Chinese “spy” vessel that sought shelter at Kaohsiung Harbor during bad weather.
“The military fully monitors all ships and vessels passing through the Taiwan Strait, regardless of their nationality,” the ministry said in a press release.
Earlier the same day, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that a Panama-flagged ship, the Sui Jiu 201, had sailed from China to Kaohsiung Harbor on Feb. 2 and left the following day.
Other reports said the ship, which operates in the South China Sea, had departed from Qingdao in Shandong Province and passed by the Sea of Japan (also known as the East Sea) on its way to waters off Kaohsiung.
The Apple Daily claimed the vessel was in close contact with the People’s Liberation Army Navy and was used to collect intelligence.
Online information shows that the Sui Jiu 201 is a salvage ship operated by the Guangzhou Salvage Bureau, under the Chinese Ministry of Transport.
The Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the vessel was registered with the People’s Republic of China government, but said it entered Kaohsiung Harbor because of inclement weather, as per international laws of the sea.
The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau said the ship never entered the inner harbor and that it remained under radar observation at all times.
The incident drew criticism from local military experts and politicians, who warned that the move could be an act of espionage.
The Sui Jiu’s voyage coincided with a naval exercise involving four PLAN missile boats in the west Pacific, to the rear of Taiwan. The four frigates passed through the Strait of Miyako, between Miyako Island and Okinawa, and about 300km off the northern part of Taiwan, on Feb. 3 on their way to the Pacific.
It is not known whether the two events were related.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi