Coast Guard Command
The end of World War II saw an end to territorial disputes In Europe, Russia excepted. The end of World War II gave rise to a host of territorial disputes in Asia, many of which have become increasingly acute in the new century. Most of these disputes center on small islands. Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan have postured the Coast Guards to contest these disputes. They have deployed cutters that are either armed only with water cannon, or with only medium caliber guns that might damage but not sink their counterparts. The intent is to limit the potential for escalation inherent in a full scale naval engagement.
The Coast Guard Command was responsible for eight local coast guard commands and 25 coast guard battalions, which secure and protect the coastline from intrusion and smuggling by carrying out coastal patrol and defense missions, such as air patrols, inshore patrols, harbor inspections, and inland inspections.
The Taiwan Coast Guard was established on 1 February 2000, incorporating all vessels from the former Marine Police and Customs organisations. It is subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior. In January 2004, the Taiwan Coast Guard submitted a budget request of TWD70 billion to be spent over the next 15 years. This amount was to cover equipment expenditure for fixed-wing aircraft and large ships capable of carrying helicopters for long-distance and endurance patrol missions.
The Coast Guard was created only in 1999 out of elements of the National Police, Army, Navy, and Customs Service. Resentment among these agencies over the loss of personnel and missions has created a major informal barrier to coordination between the Coast Guard and other military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. International cooperation has been similarly mixed. The Coast Guard has maintained strong cooperation with AIT and the US law enforcement community over issues such as drug trafficking and human smuggling. AIT has also established contact with the Coast Guard's operational and intelligence offices. Taiwan and Japan have created a regular working-level intelligence exchange program, but Japan has resisted Taiwan's attempts to establish operational contacts between the two sides.
Since its inception in February 1, 2000, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) has been responsible for the safety and security of Taiwan's coastline and waters. The CGA's missions are clear: to maintain open access to the ocean, patrol the coast round-the-clock for protecting and serving the people of Taiwan. In years of dedicated services by every men and women in the Administration, whether in patrolling the territory waters, apprehending smugglers, carrying out rescue operations or preserving the natural resources, the CGA has posted modest success.
The CGA is determined to protect the interests and dignity of our country in the high sea, resolute in carrying out our missions under the command of the President. Being supervised by the Maritime Affairs Committee, Executive Yuan, it lays out plans to integrate the government resources, and ultimately implement the national policies.
Taiwan is an island nation in every aspect, surrounded by rich natural resources of the ocean. With proper exploration and preservation, the ocean can be an inherently valuable asset to Taiwan's 23 million people. Taiwan, surrounded by water, has a total coastline of more than 1,500 kilometers. Among the world's many countries that are bordered by water, the unit length of coastline per square kilometer of Taiwan is considered very long. Despite Taiwan's total land area of merely 36,000 km2, the addition of offshore islands and surrounding waters makes the territory several times larger. Geographically, Taiwan is bounded to the east by the world's largest ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and to the west by the world's largest continent, Asia. According to statistics, the types of marine species found in the waters surrounding Taiwan account for ten percent of the world's marine species. When it comes to fish harvests, Taiwan is ranked among the world's top twenty and is one of the world's six major pelagic fishing nations. Taiwan is not only an island surrounded by water but a nation whose economy relies on the ocean.
Marine resources are one of the sources of Taiwan's continuous prosperity. The exploitation, conservation, and management of marine resources, the use of marine area and the protection of oceanic ecology, undoubtedly, are closely related to the future of Taiwan. As the world has stepped into the new maritime era of the twenty-first century, Taiwan should make an effort to keep abreast of the latest in maritime development. For the past few years, the government has taken concrete measures and achieved some success in the field of maritime development. To realize the idea of "instituting a nation on the ocean" has become part of the blueprint for the nation's future development. Hence, it is even more important to make good use of geographic advantages as Taiwan is striving to break through the bottlenecks of its development and diplomatic difficulties.
To underline its emphasis on marine affairs, the Executive Yuan established "Council for Marine Affairs Advancement" (abbreviated as the Council in the following paragraphs) on January 7, 2004. The Council is supervising six teams, namely "marine strategies", "security of territorial waters", "marine resources", "marine industries", "marine cultures", and "marine researches". The Council formulates National Oceans Policy Guidelines, and completes the Proposal on the Development of Marine Affairs and Policies. It is expected that a comprehensive proposal will facilitate marine affairs and fulfill Taiwan's commitment to become a marine nation.
For the purpose of protecting Taiwan's marine/coastal order, ensuring national security and safeguarding the people's interest, CGA since its establishment on January 28, 2000 has dispatched vessels to patrol the territorial waters, adjacent regions and economic waters in accordance with the administrative concept of "open ocean, security assurance and public services" in order to fend off smuggling and illegal entry and maintain ocean traffic order. Each year it reduces the area of controlled coastal zones demarcated for national defense and encourages the public to access the ocean and utilize the ocean in order to help realize the plan for establishing an oceanic country. It also plays an active party in international cooperation against maritime crimes in order to maintain territorial water security.
For protecting the life and property of the people, CGA in accordance with Executive Yuan anti-terrorism policy briefing resolution organized its "anti-terrorist attack response unit" on November 16, 2004 for handling maritime terrorist attacks. It has actively intensified its anti-terrorism response mechanism and formulated standard operational procedures for handling terrorist activities. In July 2005 CGA formed the "Special Mission Team." It continues to play active roles in international anti-terrorism activities in order to incorporate global anti-terrorism actions to prevent maritime terrorist attacks.
Given its location between Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, Taiwan officials suspect that incursions by PRC fishing boats and research ships are part of an effort to assert control of Taiwan-controlled Pratas Island and its facilities in order to project power into the Luzon and Taiwan Straits. The Taiwan military completed its turnover of the facility on Pratas to the Taiwan Coast Guard in 2002, having deemed in 1999 that the island was undefendable from a dedicated PRC attack. Since that time, the Taiwan Coast Guard managed the island with little policy guidance from above.
Coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan exchanged water cannon barrages on 25 September 2012 after dozens of Taiwan boats were escorted by patrol ships into the Diaoyu Islands’ waters. On 25 January 2013 a fishing boat with Taiwan activists headed for the Diaoyu Islands turned back after coast guard vessels from Taiwan and Japan converged and dueled with water cannon. Japan coast-guard vessels fired water cannons at Taiwanese fishermen. Taiwan coast-guard ships fired back before withdrawing.
The boat, carrying four activists and three other people, gave up a plan to land on the East China Sea islands after being blocked by Japanese coast guard vessels as it sailed within 17 nautical miles of the archipelago. The activists had hoped to place a statue of the Goddess of the Sea on the islands to protect Taiwan fishermen in the area.
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