Fishing boat missing
The Fisheries Agency on Friday said that a Kaohsiung-registered fishing vessel was missing in the Indian Ocean. The Lien Sheng Fa (聯昇發), registered in Kaohsiung as CT4-2896 with radio call sign BJ4896, sailed from Port Louis in Mauritius on Oct. 7 last year, the agency said in a statement. The 98-tonne ship measures 29.7m and has a crew of one Taiwanese and 15 Indonesians, it said. Family members of the ship’s crew on Thursday updated the agency on the vessel’s operations, but by noon the same day it received notice from the same people that they had lost contact with the ship, the agency said. The last update from the ship’s Vessel Monitoring System was at noon on Sunday last week, it said. In addition to seeking the assistance of seven other Taiwanese vessels operating in the region to look for the ship, the agency said it has contacted nearby nations to assist in the search.
Case total tops 10 million
Taiwan yesterday reported 13,526 new cases of COVID-19, which pushed the total number of those infected by the disease since the start of the pandemic to more than 10 million, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. Among the new cases reported yesterday, 13,281 were contracted domestically, a 10.2 percent drop from the same day a week earlier, CECC data showed. Taiwan also reported 53 new deaths from the disease, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country to 17,818. The nation has recorded 10,012,276 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020. The CECC is no longer providing daily information on the age distribution, health status and vaccination records of those who die, nor is it releasing daily infection numbers from each administrative region.
Balloon detected in north
The military on Friday detected a balloon in the nation’s north, the air force said in a statement, without indicating whether the balloon came from China. The object was determined to be a weather balloon, but an air force aircraft was still diverted mid-mission to observe the balloon until it left Taiwan’s airspace, the statement said. The military also informed the Civil Aeronautics Administration of the balloon to ensure it posed no risk to civilian aircraft, it said. This is not the first time Taiwan’s military has detected a weather balloon believed to have come from China. On Feb. 16, the army’s Dongyin Area Command, which is responsible for guarding Lienchiang County’s Dongyin Island (東引), said that soldiers found the wreckage of a suspected weather balloon believed to have originated in China.
Visitors to Japan spike
The number of travelers entering Japan from Taiwan last month spiked to almost 260,000 following the removal of COVID-19 border restrictions by both countries late last year, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said on Thursday. The number of visitors was up from a year earlier and the same month in 2019, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Chou Shyue-yow (周學佑) said. The 259,300 outbound tourists to Japan last month was up 67 percent from the number in January 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chou said, citing statistics from the Japan National Tourism Organization. After the pandemic began, travel among Taiwanese to Japan all but vanished and in January last year totaled just 492, Chou said.
The coast guard on Friday took a Chinese fishing boat and the 17 people on board into custody, after it rammed into a patrol boat while attempting to flee. A 100-tonne coast guard vessel at about 8am discovered a Chinese fishing boat illegally operating in waters about 11 nautical miles (20.4km) northwest of Hsinchu, the Hsinchu offshore flotilla of the Coast Guard Administration said. The crew refused to allow law enforcement to board the ship and attempted to flee, it added. The coast guard vessel and another ship chased the fishing boat for about a half hour, during which time the Chinese boat
Vice President William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that Beijing was trying to “annex” Taiwan, while China said its recent series of drills near Taiwan are aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces. The Ministry of National Defense earlier this month said that it had observed dozens of Chinese fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby. The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said last week. Asked about the spurt
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching