China’s Coast Guard Board Taiwanese Tourist Boat After Deaths Of Its Fishermen

Days after two Chinese fishermen drowned during a chase by Taiwanese authorities, China has reportedly begun to retaliate.

On Monday, China’s coast guard boarded a Taiwanese tourist vessel to inspect the boat. The officers checked the crew’s documents and deboarded only after half an hour of carrying out the check.

The Taiwanese ferry named King Xia had 23 passengers and 11 crew members on board. They were on a tour around Kinmen’s main island when their vessel was stopped by China’s Coast Guard officials.

This comes after the Chinese fishermen drowned while being chased away by the Taiwanese coast guard off the coast of Kinmen last week, per The Guardian.

According to Taiwanese authorities, the fishermen had trespassed into their waters and resisted an inspection of the boat. This led to a chase, during which the boat with four fishermen onboard capsized. Two of them drowned after falling into the sea, while the other two were rescued.

Kinmen, a group of islands, is a Taiwanese territory located just six miles away from mainland China. It is a popular tourist destination, however, many of its islets remain inaccessible for civilians.

The incident involving the two fishermen comes amid rising tensions between both sides. China has said it will set up law enforcement activity around the islands. It is being done to further maintain “the order of operations in the relevant waters and protecting the lives and property of fishermen,” Gan Yu, a spokesperson for China’s coast guard, said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has said that the inspection incident has “harmed our people’s feelings and triggered people’s panic”.

“That was also not in line with the interest of the people across the strait,” Kuan Bi-ling, head of Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council, told reporters on Monday. Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng has said that the military will not “actively intervene” in the incident to avoid further escalation of tensions between the two parties.

“Let’s handle the matter peacefully,” he said. “Not escalating tensions is our response”.

China considers Taiwan to be its breakaway province. It has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taipei under its control. Taiwan has been on alert since Russia invaded Ukraine, and it believes that China could make a similar move.

It has ramped up economic, military, and diplomatic pressure on the island over the last few years. Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion and has taken several steps to strengthen its defence.

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