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Local, Japan vessels clash off Diaoyutais

Taiwan's Coast Guard met the Japan Coast Guard yesterday morning near the Diaoyutai Islands, in a brief skirmish that resulted in no casualties.

Escorted by the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA, 海巡署), 75 R.O.C. fishing boats entered waters near the contested Diaoyutais early Tuesday to assert Taiwan's sovereignty.

Taiwan's CGA cutters weathered rough sea conditions to get as close as 2.1 nautical miles from the islands. R.O.C. fishing vessels proceeded with the cutters, breaking through a line of Japan Coast Guard vessels that issued warnings through loudspeakers.

At 8:30 p.m., a Taiwanese fishing boat called Yong-feng No. 106 (永豐106 號) made it 4.5 nautical miles from the Diaoyutais. At this point, Japan Coast Guard cutters closed in and sprayed Yong-feng No. 106 and nearby vessels with water cannons to deter their progress. Japanese cutters also tried to block progress by dropping small boats into the waters and pushing them into the R.O.C. fleet.

R.O.C. cutters led by the De-shing (德星艦) blocked the small boats and fired water cannons at the Japan Coast Guard cutters. Via loudspeaker, R.O.C. crew members declared sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and demanded that the Japan Coast Guard end its interference with Taiwan fishermen's operations.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese fishing boats pressed on, reaching within 3 nautical miles of the Diaoyutais at 8:49 a.m.

Lin Jih-cheng (林日成), commander of an organizing committee on safeguarding fishing rights, called on them to return around 9 a.m. Within 20 minutes, the fishing boats were homeward bound toward Yilan County's Su-ao Harbor (蘇澳港) under CGA escort.

'Closer than expected'

R.O.C. cutters and fishing boats failed to circle the contested island chain as planned, but were able to sail much closer to the islands than expected, said Lin yesterday.

The fleet has accomplished its mission of declaring sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, he added.

CGA Deputy Director-General Wang Chung-yi (王崇儀) said that R.O.C. cutters did not allow Japanese ships to board the Taiwanese fishing boats and did not allow Japanese officers to take Taiwanese fishermen into custody, which were also the aims of the mission. Wang said that Japan had mobilized 21 ships.

The CGA had not advanced further due to rough and unpredictable sea conditions, which included waves greater than 4 meters, he said.

Wang said that there were five mainland Chinese patrol ships near the island chain, positioned outside a 12-nautical-mile radius.

September 26, 2012    mcchow@
So the Taiwanese fishing boats were inside 3 nautical miles of Diaoyutais for 31 minutes?


September 26, 2012    viaboston@
I'm not sure what the Taiwanese hope to gain from this beyond stirring up nationalist sentiment...ironic though that the KMT would sanction this because it inherently implies Taiwanese independence if their claims differ from mainland Chinese claims...and yet if it doesn't it is an implicit acknowledgement of unification...just unbelievable. This sort of nationalist mongering on the part of Taiwanese is pathetic and I clearly would support Taiwanese independence...
September 26, 2012    cloggedwithguts@
I can guarantee you that those pan-green rednecks will side with the Japs on this one. They can never betray their Japanese daddies, even with issues like this.
September 27, 2012    olichu@
So a bunch of kids with water guns shooting at each other.

All the countries involved talk a big game but when it comes down to it, no one is willing to fire the first shot.
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