Mainland Chinese coastguard keeps up pressure on Taiwan with latest ‘regular’ patrol near Quemoy

Beijing is continuing to carry out “regular patrols” in the waters near a Taiwanese-held island off the coast of mainland China ahead of president-elect William Lai Ching-te’s inauguration later this month.

Mainland China’s coastguard said units based in Fujian, the province nearest Taiwan, had carried out a “regular law enforcement” patrol in the waters near Quemoy, which is also called Kinmen, on Friday.

Taiwan postpones Quemoy live-fire drills after Beijing warns against ‘rash’ act

It was the sixth mission of its kind since an incident on February 14, in which two mainland fishermen died during a pursuit by Taiwan’s coastguard after their boat entered the Quemoy archipelago’s prohibited waters.

It was also the second this week following a similar patrol on Monday, which the mainland coastguard said was intended to “enhance the management of relevant waters”.

In March, they carried two back-to-back patrols involving a total of eight vessels on consecutive days. They were warned away by their Taiwanese counterparts on both occasions.

In late February, on the same day as a patrol mission, Fujian-based based coastguards carried out a law enforcement exercise in the waters between Quemoy and the nearby mainland city of Xiamen to “test the fast-response and emergency response capabilities” of their vessels.



War scarred bunkers on Quemoy reflect the islands’ frontline role in Taiwan Strait tension

War scarred bunkers on Quemoy reflect the islands’ frontline role in Taiwan Strait tension

The increased coastguard activity comes as the People’s Liberation Army continues to keep up the pressure on Taiwan’s military ahead of the May 20 inauguration of Lai, from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, who is regularly denounced by Beijing as a “troublemaker” and “obstinate separatist”.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Friday morning that it had detected 26 PLA aircraft and five warships operating around the island in the previous 24 hours.

The ministry also reported that 17 warplanes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, approaching within 41 nautical miles (75km) of Keelung, a major naval base on the northeast of the island.

The median line, once regarded as an unofficial boundary between Taiwan and China, is now frequently crossed by Chinese military aircraft and Beijing officially denies the line’s existence.

On Thursday, the Taiwanese defence ministry said the PLA had carried out a “joint combat readiness patrol” near the island – its second in a week.

Beijing sends coastguard ships from Diaoyus to patrol near Quemoy

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China that must be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary.

Most countries do not recognise Taiwan as an independent state. But many, including its most important international partner the United States and its allies, are opposed to any change to the status quo by force.

Lai’s inaugural speech will be closely watched by Beijing as it looks for clues about what approach he will adopt over the next four years.



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