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Taiwan urges China to release fishing boat

July 3, 2024

Taiwan's coast guard said five people were on the boat that was operating during China's no-fishing season. It was seized near the Taipei-controlled Kinmen islands.

Taiwanese coast guard officials at press conference in front of map of Kinmen islands and surrounding areas
Taiwan's coast guard says that a Taiwanese fishing boat was seized near the Kinmen islandsImage: Chiang Ying-ying/AP Photo/picture alliance

Taiwan has called on Beijing to release a fishing boat seized near the Kinmen islands off the coast of China.

China considers the self-governing, democratic island of Taiwan to be part of its territory.

China's coast guard said in a statement that the boat was suspected of illegal fishing and was seized.

The Kinmen islands are located 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Chinese mainland but are administered by Taipei.

Two people with umbrella looking at Kinmen island from Xiamen beach
The Kinmen islands are near the port of Xiamen in China's southeastern Fujian provinceImage: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

What do we know about the seized fishing boat?

Taiwan's coast guard said in a statement it received a report early on Tuesday from the owner of a fishing boat that two Chinese coast guard vessels intercepted it around 23.7 nautical miles (44 kilometers) from Kinmen's Liaoluo port.

"We broadcast to the Chinese coast guard ship, demanding the immediate release of our fishing boat. The Chinese side also broadcast to us, asking not to interfere," Taiwan's coast guard said.

"To avoid escalating the conflict, we have decided to stop the chase," it said.

Taiwan's coast guard said two Taiwanese and three Indonesians were on the boat.

It added that the boat was operating during China's no-fishing period, which lasts from May 1 to August 15.

Taiwan asks for explanation of seizure

Taiwan coast guard official Hsieh Ching-chin told reporters in Taipei that China should explain why it seized the boat.

He said that in previous cases, fishermen had received fines and were released when operating during China's no-fishing season.

"The coast guard also calls on the mainland side not to use political factors to handle this situation," Hsieh said.

China has increased its pressure on Taiwan in recent years and stepped up patrols around the Kinmen islands. It conducted military drills around Taiwan in May, days after the inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, who Beijing has labeled a "separatist."

sdi/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP)