Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taiwan adds frigates to deter China fishing boats

Taiwan's coastguardTaiwan's coastguard on Wednesday inaugurated two frigates to boost the island's capabilities as part of efforts to deter illegal fishing boats, mainly from China, officials said.
The "Tainan", a 2,000-tonne frigate named after a city in southern Taiwan, was put into service after a ceremony presided over by President Ma Ying-jeou in Kaohsiung, a port in the south.
The frigate, capable of cruising up to 7,500 miles, will be used to patrol waters around the island and in the disputed South China Sea, coastguards said.
"Over the past two years, the government's efforts have helped lead to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Ma said according to a statement from the coastguard.
"(But) the maintenance of security on waters around Taiwan has emerged as one of the most important tasks."

Ties with China have improved markedly since Ma took office in 2008, with the two sides resuming routine high-level direct talks and adopting various measures to boost trade and tourism.
Despite the warming ties, Taiwan's coastguard frequently reports intrusions by Chinese fishing boats into the island's territorial waters.
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