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China banning vessels near Taiwan due to rocket debris

April 13, 2023

Beijing is restricting the movement of vessels in an area near Taiwan this weekend, because of possible falling rocket debris.

A J-15 Chinese fighter jet takes off from the Shandong aircraft carrier
China announced an area around 100 miles (160 kilometres) from Taipei will be closed for vessels for several hours on SundayImage: An Ni/Xinhua/AP/picture alliance

A regional Chinese maritime safety authority on Thursday said that the movement of vessels in an area near Taiwan would be banned over the weekend due to the possibility of falling rocket debris.

The area around 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Taipei will be closed from 9 a.m. (0100 GMT) to 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Sunday, the Fujian province maritime safety administration said, adding that ships will be "forbidden to enter."

The area in question is situated northwest of Japan's Ishigaki island and close to a group of disputed islets in the East China Sea that Japan calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu.

China-Taiwan tensions

The restrictions to maritime activity in the area come amid a period of escalated tensions between China and Taiwan.

Last weekend, Beijing held three days of large-scale military exercises involving simulated multiple targeted strikes and a blockade of the island which it claims as its own. China has vowed to bring Taiwan under its control, by force if necessary.

The Reuters news agency reported that Taiwan's government on Wednesday confirmed a report that China was planning to impose a no-fly zone from April 16-18 — a time when Japan hosts a G7 foreign minister's meeting — but later shortened the no-fly stipulation to 27 minutes on Sunday morning.

Japan's government sought an explanation from China on Wednesday.

"The government is continuing to collect and analyze detailed information, including the communication with the Chinese side, and will take appropriate measures based on the results," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

There was no comment from China's foreign ministry.

kb/rc (Reuters, AFP)

Tensions remain high between China and Taiwan