Taiwan denounces a record number of Chinese warships near the island

Taiwan has detected eleven Chinese ships around the island in the last twenty-four hours, the Ministry of Defense in Taipei said, a figure that represents a record since the beginning of the year. Specifically, Beijing has stationed 15 military aircraft, 11 warships and a balloon around the island, the ministry said.

In December, 11 Chinese ships were spotted in Taiwan on the eve of the island’s presidential election, which was won by Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing described as a “separatist.” A Chinese maritime surveillance ship and four Chinese coast guard ships briefly entered the waters around Kinmen on Monday, according to Kuan Bi-ling, Taiwan’s minister of maritime affairs.

In addition to warships China has increased the deployment of maritime research vessels just 24 nautical miles off the coast of Taiwan, in a demonstration of Beijing’s new surveillance capabilities to collect crucial data for naval warfare. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, states can claim a contiguous zone up to 24 nautical miles from their coast, giving them resource rights and jurisdiction over the surface and bottom of that maritime zone.

According to the Financial Times, China often uses ships operated by government and military research institutes to stake its claims in disputed waters, sailing near oil exploration sites within Vietnam and Malaysia’s exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea. , which Beijing claims almost in its entirety. Maritime research vessels can measure water temperature, salinity and ocean currents and map the seabedData that can be used for a wide range of scientific research, but also for naval warfare.

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“Where maritime research ships go, Chinese submarines will also go in the future,” he told the Financial Times. Christopher SharmanDirector of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College.


The increase in maritime activity near Taiwan comes amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Taipei following a deadly incident at sea a Taiwanese coast guard ship.

Kinmen Islands Incident

Everything happened in the following way. A Chinese speedboat carrying four people capsized on February 14 near Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands while being pursued by the Taiwan Coast Guard, killing two Chinese fishermen. The other two crew members were rescued and temporarily held in Kinmen.

Beijing accused Taiwanese authorities of “attempting to evade responsibility and hide the truth about this incident.” According to the Taiwan Coast Guard, the Chinese ship involved zigzagged, “lost balance and capsized” as it tried to escape the patrol vessel.

“The measures taken by the Taiwanese authorities have seriously hurt the feelings of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. And since the incident occurred, the authorities of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have not apologized,” protested Zhu Fenglian, spokesman for the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office, in a press conference. According to Zhu, the Taiwanese government “lied” and “hide the truth” “without showing humanity.”

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