Cameroon timber Author of the article:

Bloomberg News

Jennifer Creery

Published Feb 19, 2024  •  1 minute read

This photo taken on February 16, 2024 shows a Filipino fisherman (front) sailing past a Chinese Coast Guard ship near the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, in disputed waters of the South China Sea. Photo by TED ALJIBE /AFP via Getty ImagesChina’s Coast Guard boarded a Taiwanese tourist vessel operating near an offshore outpost, in an apparent response to an accident that saw two fishermen die.

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The Coast Guard officers checked documents of the ship operating near the Taiwanese island of Kinmen on Monday and left after about 30 minutes, the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported. Kinmen sits less than 3km (1.9 miles) from the mainland.

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The boarding surprised the tourists, who feared they may be taken to the mainland, the semi-official CNA said. Some of them shouted at the coast guardsmen: “This is terrible!”

The boarding is rare and comes after two Chinese fishermen died when their speedboat capsized near Kinmen on Feb. 14. Taiwan’s Coast Guard said it chased the vessel after it fled an inspection attempt.

Two other Chinese fishermen were rescued. China has said it is sending a delegation including relatives to retrieve them.

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Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council expressed regret at the “unfortunate incident” involving the fishermen but said the action by its Coast Guard was lawful and proper based on a preliminary inquiry.

China condemned Taiwan for the deadly expulsion. Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, said the incident undermined the goodwill between people on both sides of the strait.

TAO didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment on the boarding.

Disputes over fishing occasionally flare between China and Taiwan, the democratically run island of 23 million people that Beijing has pledged to bring under its control someday, by force if necessary. Taiwan’s Coast Guard routinely expels Chinese fishing vessels from its waters and occasionally impounds a ship.

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