The killing of two Chinese fishermen raises tensions with Taiwan

The killing of two Chinese fishermen raises tensions with Taiwan

Two Chinese fishermen died when they were chased by a Taiwanese patrol in an incident that could lead to an untold crisis in the Formosa Strait. Beijing's immediate reaction, muted by its standards and without heated threats, seems to rule out the desire to turn the unfortunate incident into a casus belli.

The clashes took place on Wednesday in the waters off Taipei-administered Kinmen Island, which is only three kilometers from the mainland. A Taiwanese patrol boat spotted a Chinese speedboat nearby and, after stopping it, began a high-speed chase that ended with the second boat capsizing. The four fishermen were rescued from the water and taken to the hospital, where two of them were pronounced dead. The other two are in stable condition and were transferred to Kinmen to answer before the public prosecutor's office.

Yesterday, China condemned the “evil incident” and demanded an explanation from Taipei. “This has hurt the feelings of compatriots on both sides of the strait,” said Zhou Fenlian, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office. He also pointed out the different treatment they give each: while China helps Taiwanese sailors who need help or supplies, Taipei uses “all kinds of excuses to forcibly search Chinese fishermen and uses violent and dangerous methods.”

Taiwan expressed its regret over the casualties and denied mismanagement of its coast guard. The law protects it by expelling, detaining and punishing anyone who enters its waters. He also pointed to the relentless incursions of Chinese boats to fish or extract sand from the seabed, activities that are illegal and harmful to the ecosystem. “Many Chinese boats have recently entered our waters, taking advantage of the Lunar New Year to catch high-value fish,” Taipei revealed. It is not uncommon for Chinese fishermen to be accused of darkening global waters or confrontations, but they also cause deaths.

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Aphrodisiac water

And in the Formosa Strait and the South China Sea, Asia's most libidinous waters, no one is interested in open conflict. The danger is that an incident like this recent one will precipitate tensions and lead to a worrying scenario. The density of ships and warplanes is a worrying factor. On Wednesday, Taipei identified, without going further, 14 aircraft and drones in the vicinity of the island. The United States and China have been heading toward a collision in recent years, and fortunately both recently resumed dialogue at the highest military levels to mitigate misunderstandings.

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