Two Chinese Fishermen Die After Sea Chase With Taiwanese Coastguard, Beijing Says ‘Incident Undermine Goodwill’

China has condemned the death of two of its fishermen who drowned while being chased by the Taiwanese coast guard near Taiwan’s northernmost archipelago, saying the incident undermined the “mutual goodwill between compatriots.” 

Following the death of the two fishermen after a boat chase by the Taiwanese Coast Guard on Wednesday, China also called it the “result of offensive actions pursued by Taiwanese officials” and asked Taipei to ensure the safety of fishermen from the Chinese mainland. 

The Taiwanese coastguard responded by saying that the speedboat from the Chinese mainland “trespassed” Taiwanese waters and the the four fishermen onboard resisted an inspection that led to a chase.  

Describing the incident, it said, the Chinese boat capsized after it crossed into Kinmen’s waters and sped away ignoring the calls from the Taiwanese Coast Guard to stop for inspection. 

“All four on board fell into the water when their boat capsized. The Taiwanese Guard pulled the four out of the water but two of them died,” it said. 

The deaths were unusual despite the high-level presence of China’s fishing and naval vessels near Kinmen, which is closer to the Chinese mainland than it is to Taiwan. 

Hours after the incident, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, expressed strong condemnation of the incident by saying that it “undermined the mutual goodwill between compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”   

The incident comes at a time when both China and Taiwan are celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Dragon since February 8. 

Extending condolences and sympathy to the victims and their families, Zhu asked Taiwanese authorities that they should ensure the safety of mainland fishermen and prevent such incidents from happening again. 

Zhu urged relevant parties from Taiwan to respect the historical fact of fishermen from both sides of the Strait operating in its traditional fishery zones. China claims Taiwan, as part of the mainland and Beijing’s assertions under current Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rule to reclaim the estranged island. 

China has also expressed concern over the recent Presidential election in Taiwan in which DPP candidate, Lai Ching-te won defeating Beijing-friendly Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang party. 

Lai’s victory was regarded as a significant milestone in Taiwan’s politics as it is the first time a political party in the estranged island has won the Presidential election on the pro-independence plank for a third time highlighting the Taiwanese people’s wish to retain the status quo.