COAST GUARD LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN AGAINST INTRUDING CHINESE SHIPS
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) launched a weeklong "clean sweep" campaign Saturday against Chinese fishing boats and ocean survey ships intruding into waters near Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.
The campaign was launched in response to a Chinese ocean survey ship, the "Fendou [striving] No. 4, " that has sailed into waters close to the three outlying islands three times since May, and poaching by Chinese fishing boats in Taiwan waters. "The operation is also aimed at cracking down on human and cargo smuggling across the Taiwan Strait and preventing a possible spread of avian flu into Taiwan as an outbreak of human influenza mutated from bird flu is very likely to emerge in China, " a CGA official explained.
According to a CGA study, locations where Chinese fishing boats have often traversed and converged include the outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and Wuchiu as well as Keelung, Hsinchu and Taichung on Taiwan proper.
In addition to mobilizing large patrols to beef up its presence, the official said the CGA has also enlisted helicopters and coastal radar systems to facilitate reconnaissance and form a three-dimensional dragnet to enhance operational efficiency. "We hope such precautionary actions can deter Chinese fishermen from traversing into our territorial waters so that we can better protect our fishery resources, maritime ecology and the safety of local fishermen operating in the areas," the official said.
Amid reports of avian flu outbreaks in certain parts of China and its neighboring countries, Taiwan has stepped up inspection and quarantine work at Kinmen and Matsu where direct shipping services with China's Fujian province have been allowed to prevent the spread of the virus to the two Taiwan-held outlying islands and Taiwan proper.
During the campaign, the CGA official said Chinese fishing boats intruding into Taiwan's restricted waters will be chased away and those that traverse into off-limit areas will be impounded.
(By Sofia Wu)
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