Japanese coast guard reiterated Japan's territory rights to the Tiaoyutai Islands during the standoff. Picture: Fishing boat Tafa 268. (Photo/CNA)
A Taiwanese fishing boat, with some activists aboard, returned to Taiwan late Wednesday after a 25-minute standoff with Japanese coast guard ships in disputed Diaoyutai waters.
The Tafa 268 left Gengfang Fishing Harbor in northeastern Taiwan's Yilan County Tuesday night and navigated to waters some 23 nautical miles off the disputed Diaoyutai Islands at around 8 am Wednesday, an official from the Coast Guard Agency (CGA) said.
As the Taiwanese ship sped up toward the disputed island group, the Japanese coast guard immediately mobilized four patrol vessels to block the Tafa, said the Chang Yu-shih, chief secretary at the CGA's Coastal Patrol Directorate General. A Japanese helicopter was also dispatched to monitor the Taiwanese boat.
The CGA's Keelung office had sent five patrol vessels to the waters after discovering from its radar system that the Tafa 268 was moving toward the disputed waters.
The CGA vessels managed to break the Japanese blockade to sail close to the Taiwanese fishing boat. During the 25-minute standoff, Chang said, the Japanese vessels only reiterated Japan's claims to the uninhabitated island group in the East China Sea and did not spurt water against the Tafa 268.
"Our coast guard officials also asked Japanese vessels not to interfere with Taiwanese fishermen's operations in the region because the Tiaoyutai island group is Taiwan's territory," Chang said.
Afterwards, the Tafa ended its operations and set off for home escorted by the CGA fleet while Japanese vessels followed them to 17 nautical miles off the Diaoyutai islands.
The Daioyutai islands are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.
Tafa 268 大發268號
Gengfang Fishing Harbor 梗枋漁港
Chang Yu-shih 張雨時
Coast Guard Agency (CGA) 行政院海岸巡防署