ROC aids mainlander stranded near Diaoyutais
By Joseph Yeh , The China Post
January 3, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that Taiwan maintained close contact with Japanese authorities during the rescue of a Chinese national who tried to land a hot-air balloon on a disputed island in the East China Sea on Wednesday.
The man who tried to fly a hot-air balloon to the Diaoyutai Islands has been rescued by the Japanese coast guard after crashing into the nearby sea after bumping into turbulence Wednesday afternoon.
According to foreign media reports, the Japanese Coast Guard received a missing-persons report from Taiwanese officials. A Coast Guard helicopter later spotted the Chinese man about 20 kilometers from the Diaoyutai Islands.
He was picked up by a boat and later handed over to a Chinese patrol ship, according to the Japanese Coast Guard. His life was not in danger. The man was later identified as a 35-year-old Chinese cook.
Asked to comment, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday that Taiwan and Japan maintained close contact during the rescue mission to safe the Chinese man.
“All parties involved have maintained regular contact during similar emergency rescue missions at sea,” Kao said.
Kao noted that the incident happened in Taiwan and Japan's overlapping exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea.
The MOFA spokeswoman reiterated Taiwan's claim that the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of the R.O.C.'s territory, saying that the waters surrounding the island chain are traditional Taiwanese fishing grounds.
CGA Dispatches Vessel
Meanwhile, unidentified local officials told the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday that Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) also dispatched a vessel during the rescue mission on Wednesday.
The CGA received a report from the National Rescue Command Center around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday that a Chinese national was reportedly missing at sea near the Diaoyutai Islands, the source said.
The CGA immediately dispatched one of its vessels to the nearby area to launch a rescue mission. It also informed its Japanese counterparts to join the rescue mission.
The CGA later called off the mission after it learned that Japanese coastguardsmen had already found the Chinese national in question, the source said.
Known in Japan as Senkaku and Diaoyu in China, the uninhabited islands under Japanese control are located some 190 kilometers from Taiwan's Keelung Harbor and are claimed by both Taiwan and China.