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Taiwanese and Chinese Coast Guard Vessels Face Off Near Kinmen

China Coast Guard cutter
U.S. Coast Guard file image

Published Feb 20, 2024 6:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, Taiwan's coast guard ejected a China Coast Guard patrol vessel from Taiwanese-controlled waters off Kinmen, the agency claimed. 

According to Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA), China Coast Guard patrol vessel Zhongguohaijian 8029 entered Taiwanese waters off Kinmen on Tuesday morning. The Taiwanese authorities sent a patrol boat in response and warned off the Chinese vessel with a VHF broadcast. Zhongguohaijian 8029 left after about an hour, the CGA said. This kind of run-in was unusual, as both coast guards usually stay on their respective sides of the maritime boundary. 

The interaction followed one day after a China Coast Guard patrol vessel intercepted and boarded the  Taiwanese tourist boat King Xia off Kinmen. The CCG inspected the tourist vessel's paperwork and delayed its voyage for about half an hour, and prompted the CGA to send a vessel to escort the boat safely back to port. 

Last week, two Chinese nationals were killed while fleeing a Taiwanese coast guard law enforcement vessel. A Chinese speedboat with four occupants capsized during the chase, sending two into the water and killing two others. 

The two surviving fishermen have been released by Taiwanese authorities and have returned to the mainland, accompanied by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC).

Beijing's agency for Taiwan affairs denounced the CGA for its role in the deaths, and the CCG has said that it would step up patrols around Kinmen. (The Chinese Communist Party does not recognize the government of Taiwan, and asserts that all Taiwanese territory and maritime claims belong to mainlaind China.)

Taiwan's government says that the fatal encounter was the unfortunate result of a legitmate law-enforcement mission, and that the Chinese fishing boat was operating illegally in a controlled waterway. Taiwan has complained for years over Chinese-operated illegal fishing and sand mining enterprises in its waters off Kinmen.