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Mainland Affairs Council

Cross-Strait Exchanges Archives

A description on the intrusion of Mainland fishing vessels into our territorial water

By the Mainland Affairs Council
December 1999

 

The Mainland and Taiwan were under two different jurisdictions for more than forty years. Yet, the threat from the Mainland in the use of force remained unchanged. Although the tension between the two sides had been eased since recent years, the Mainland still intends to take over Taiwan by force. For the sake of protecting the well beings of the people in Taiwan, Penghu, Kimmen and Matsu, it is necessary for us to delimit restrictive and prohibited territorial water lawfully in order to assure the boundary of security. As such, we have to disperse and defend against the intruding fishing vessels from the Mainland in order to assure the security in Taiwan, Penghu, Kimmen and Matsu.

Since the beginning of 1994, the Chinese communist had openly attacked us in public media on the measures our enforcers chosen to deal with the intruding fishing vessels. They made us responsible for the detention and disposition of the intruders and the intruding vessels as the results of dispersions, and never mind about the threat those incidents posed against our security.

To let the Mainland side understand the area delimited as restrictive and prohibited territorial water, the Mainland Affairs Council had informed them with relevant maps on July 9 1992 and January 21 1993 respectively via the Straits Exchange Foundation. The unofficial The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) was also informed. From March 9 1991 through December 1999, we have notified the Association for the Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in writing for more 188 times in order to urge relevant agencies in the Mainland to restrain their fishing vessels from crossing the delimitation line. The demarcation was done in accordance with our defense need. In principle, prohibited territory for Penghu is 12 miles and restrictive zone is 24 miles from coastline. For other offshore islands, they are 6,000 and 4,000 meters respectively. Since Kimmen and Matsu are very close to the coastline of Fujian, the mid-point principle is adopted for the demarcation. However, the Mainland side never restrains their fishing vessels from intruding into the said territorial water and to perform illegal activities:

I. Mainland fishing vessels sparingly engaged in fishing (with the use of explosives) that arouses grievances from our fishermen.

From 1993 to September 1999, statistics shows that there were 410,600 Mainland fishing vessels intruded and illegally engaged in fishing in the Kimmen territorial water. Some 94,059 into the Matsu water, 22,145 into Tungyin water, 26,084 into Wuchiu water, which come up to 552,888. The number of fishing vessels that had engaged in the use of explosive for fishing are 25,266 in Kimmen water, 2,787 in Matsu water, 124 in Tungyin water, 394 in Wuchiu water with a total of 28,571. Since those fishing vessels from the Mainland openly used explosive and netted in our territorial water, and even took away the fishing equipment from our fishermen without consent, they infuriated fishermen on our side.

II. The Mainland fishing vessels used drift-netting for fishing that could harm the marine ecology

The adopted the drift-netting method to fish in the Penghu territorial water which resulted in the destruction of coral reef at the seabed of that zone. And in turn, the marine ecology was in hazard. Their actions were indeed condemned by the civilized world.

III.The Chinese Communist never ceases to be hostile on us. They tolerate large-scale smuggling and illegal immigration that affects our security.

The Chinese communist never give up the use of forces against Taiwan. They tolerate fishing vessels from the Mainland to approach our territorial water, and even trained the fleet to infiltrate into our water. Around the offshore islands, hundreds of those vessels always gather. It would be difficult to tell if armed vessels were among them especially during nighttime when the visibility is low. If those vessels covered the approaching of armed vessels, the security of those island will be in hazard.

In addition to illegal fishing, some of the vessels also engaged in espionage activities, smuggling and carrying illegal immigrants. One startling example was that illegal immigrant Sun Gang had sneaked into Kimmen and held provincial employees as hostages. Coincidentally, we had arrested some 90 vessels for engaging in smuggling and carrying illegal immigrants during the same period. For the persons who pioneered those vessels, they were detained, investigated and prosecuted. We usually disperse the intruding vessels by coercive means since we have to.

To promote and maintain positive interactions with the Mainland is the persisting objective of the government. However, we will take defensive measures against any actions that clearly posed danger to our well beings. The permission of their fishing vessels to intrude into our territorial water, destroy the marine ecology in our territory and stealing of fishing equipment from our fishermen and any other illegal activities under our jurisdiction shall not be tolerated. Countless number of fishing vessels had indeed intruded into our restrictive and prohibited zone. According to the accounts given by the fishermen of the intruding vessels detained, they understand the existence of such territorial zones. Nevertheless, the continuous intrusion, smuggling, use explosive and carry illegal immigrants never cease, which led us to believe that the Mainland side keep a permissive posture and never strictly enforce the law. As such, any damages or casualties caused in this regard shall fully be responsible by the Mainland. We wish the Mainland side to face the problem and understand that both sides of the Strait are indeed on the same platform to keep the interactions positive. Hence, we ask the Mainland to restrain their fishermen from intruding into our zone via the media or any other means available.