Patrols near Kinmen 'beyond reproach'

2024-02-29 10:18:22China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Coast guard's actions fully justified following recent maritime incident

A Chinese mainland spokeswoman said on Wednesday that its coast guard patrols in waters near the Kinmen islands, which are administered by Taiwan, were beyond reproach, dismissing complaints that the boarding of a Taiwan tourist boat had caused panic.

The mainland's coast guard began regular patrols this month around the islands, which face Xiamen and Quanzhou in Fujian province, following a deadly collision between a mainland fishing boat and a patrol vessel from Taiwan earlier in the month.

The fishing boat from the mainland was forcefully driven into waters near Kinmen on Feb 14 by Taiwan authorities, who claimed the boat had entered a "restricted "area, causing all four people on board to fall into the sea and resulting in two fatalities.

On Wednesday, Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, denied claims that mainland coast guard personnel boarding a Taiwan tourist vessel for inspection on Feb 19 caused panic and fear among many tourists.

She said the coast guard had been carrying out duties in its own waters, maintaining normal order, and ensuring the safety of fishermen and tourists' lives and property in an open and transparent manner, which was beyond reproach.

Taiwan is part of China, she said, with the waters off Xiamen and Kinmen having traditionally been fishing grounds for fishermen from both sides, and there was no such thing as "prohibited waters" as claimed by the island.

Zhu said the fundamental reason causing concern among people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait is that the Democratic Progressive Party authorities in Taiwan, for political gain, refuse to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle.

"They are inciting anti-mainland sentiments, stoking cross-Strait confrontation and tension," she said, urging Taiwan to promptly disclose the truth.

Li Peng, head of the Graduate Institute for Taiwan Studies at Xiamen University, said that it's reasonable and lawful for the mainland to intensify its regular law enforcement patrols in the waters near Xiamen and Kinmen.

The waters near Xiamen and Kinmen are part of China's internal waters, and both the mainland's coast guard and its fishery authority have the responsibility and obligation to maintain the normal order of the waters, and protect legitimate rights and interests, including those of Taiwan fishermen, to prevent a tragedy from happening again, Li said.

The normalization of law enforcement patrols by the mainland is also an exercise of administrative jurisdiction and law enforcement in the waters, demonstrating the principle that both sides of the Strait belong to one China through practical actions, he said.

Taiwan authorities can only calm the indignation of compatriots on both sides by promptly disclosing the truth about the deadly collision, severely punishing those responsible, meeting the reasonable demands of the victims' families, and solemnly apologizing to them, he added.

Li said Taiwan should strengthen the management of its so-called patrol activities and enhance the restraint of relevant personnel to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

He said that, fundamentally, the DPP authorities need to adjust their hostile attitude toward the mainland, change their separatist "Taiwan independence" thinking, and recognize that compatriots on both sides are one family and belong to one country, a fact that cannot be changed by anyone or any force.

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