Five China Coast Guard Vessels Probe Taiwan's Waters off Kinmen

China Coast Guard vessel
USCG file image

Published Feb 27, 2024 6:13 PM by The Maritime Executive

China continues to test the boundaries of Taiwan's maritime claims around Kinmen Island, officials in Taipei said Tuesday. Five China Coast Guard vessels entered Taiwanese-controlled waters off the outlying island on Monday, but did not resist and complied when the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA) asked them to leave. 

Tensions around Kinmen have been high since the deadly run-in between a Chinese speedboat and CGA responders earlier this month. The encounter began when a Chinese speedboat with four people aboard intruded into Taiwanese maritime territory, and the Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) gave chase. The suspect boat capsized while maneuvering to escape, and two of the occupants were killed.

Beijing blamed the CGA for the fatalities, and its Taiwan Affairs Office expressed "strong condemnation to the Taiwan side for such a vicious incident." Mainland China's coast guard quickly promised to step up its law enforcement presence in the area. (The People's Republic of China does not recognize Taiwan or Taiwanese jurisdiction.) 

The China Coast Guard conducted a rare boarding of a Taiwanese tourist boat the week after the casualty, and CCG incursions have become a semi-regular occurrence after years of comparative quiet. 


Taiwan maritime official Kuan Bi-ling told reporters Tuesday that the CCG's willingness to leave when instructed was a positive sign. “The political significance is high, which is a form of a declaration of sovereignty,” Kuan said. 

Kinmen is located just a few miles from mainland China, and Taiwanese authorities have complained of intruding Chinese commercial vessels for years. According to Taipei, Chinese fishermen and sand dredgers regularly cross the line into Taiwan's waters off Kinmen.