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Taiwan Accuses China’s Coast Guard of Provoking “Panic” Amidst Rising Tensions

Taiwan has lodged accusations against China’s coast guard for causing “panic” after six Chinese officials briefly boarded a Taiwanese tourist boat. The officials inspected the ship’s route plan, certificate, and crew licenses before departing half an hour later. This incident follows closely on the heels of a Taiwanese coast guard pursuit of a Chinese fishing boat in the same region last week, resulting in the boat’s capsizing and the tragic loss of two lives.

The Kinmen archipelago, situated a mere 3km (1.86 mi) from China’s southeastern coast, has become a focal point in the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan. While Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province destined to reunite with the mainland, Taiwan asserts its distinct identity.

Kuan Bi-ling, head of Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council, expressed concern over the recent incident, stating that it had “harmed our people’s feelings and triggered people’s panic.” She emphasized that such actions were not in the interest of the people across the strait. The tourist boat, carrying 11 crew members and 23 passengers, unintentionally entered disputed waters, a situation described as common for both Chinese and Taiwanese tourist vessels.

Taiwan’s Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng urged a peaceful resolution, stating that the military would not “actively intervene” to avoid escalating tensions. Last week’s tragic episode involving the Taiwanese coastguard and Chinese fishermen has further strained relations, with China condemning the incident as a serious offense against the sentiments of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

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