You can share an article by clicking on the share icons at the top right of it.
The total or partial reproduction of an article, without the prior written authorization of Le Monde, is strictly forbidden.

On Tuesday, February 20, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng called for calm to prevent further escalation, saying that “to avoid war, the army would not get involved” in the February 15 accident in which two Chinese fishermen drowned. Their speedboat, which had made an incursion into Taiwanese waters surrounding the Kinmen archipelago, capsized while attempting to evade the Taiwanese coastguard. “If we intervene, the conflict will escalate, which we don’t want. Let’s settle it peacefully,” added the former general. Two other surviving fishermen from the same boat have been “taken care of and will be repatriated as soon as the case progresses,” according to Taiwan Minister of Maritime Affairs Kuan Bi-ling.

Taiwan’s small Kinmen archipelago, made up of two main islands with a population of 140,000 and a few fortified islets closed to the public, lies just a few kilometers off the Chinese coast. It was here, in 1958, that the final battle took place between Mao Zedong’s Communist forces and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Chinese forces. The latter had fled to Taiwan after their defeat in China but managed to retain military control over a few small island groups, including Kinmen, Matsu and the Wuqiu, which are located very close to the Chinese coast. Today, these “Taiwanese Channel Islands” enjoy strong personal, tourist and commercial interactions with China. From Kinmen, you can see the large Chinese port city of Xiamen.

Until now, the two sides have tacitly respected a precise delimitation of waters, according to a map drawn up in the early 1990s indicating a “restricted” and a “prohibited” zone around the Kinmen archipelago, defined by 27 GPS points.

‘One more small erosion’

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office had already strongly condemned Taipei for the accidental deaths that occurred a few days earlier. On Saturday, it appeared to question this map, which effectively ensures the peaceful cohabitation of both sides in this fragile zone.

Facebook Comments Box
Translate »