China: War fears explode after Beijing ‘boards ship’ – World News – News

China’s navy forcefully boarded a Taiwanese fishing vessel, as tensions between the two countries threatened to boil over, according to Chinese media.

The incident happened on Tuesday in waters just off the Kinmen islands in the Taiwan Strait, which are just 10km from the Chinese mainland.

Taipei has created an exclusion zone in the waters around the islands, banning Chinese vessels from entry.

Beijing does not officially recognise the exclusion zone, although up until recently it has tacitly accepted its existence.

The waters around Kinmen are teeming with yellow croakers and other fish that are eagerly sought after by fishermen.

A Taiwanese vessel, known as Dajinman No. 88, was suddenly approached by two Chinese Coast Guard ships, while out fishing for the croakers, according to local reports.

They took photographs of the boat, before forcibly boarding and commandeering it.

Reports said the Taiwanese boat was then taken to the Weitou Military Port in Fujian, China. On board the vessel were its captain and five foreign workers.

Taiwan’s Coast Guard dispatched patrol boats to protect the other fishing boats working in the area.

China has increased its naval patrols in the waters near Kinmen in the wake of a deadly accident in February.

A boat carrying four Chinese people capsized while trying to get away from a Taiwan coast guard vessel, which had ordered it to stop for inspection.

Two of the four Chinese passengers died, for which Beijing blamed Taiwan. The fury grew when it became clear the two boats had collided – a fact Taiwan’s authorities had initially omitted.

Fears continue to grow of an imminent attack on Taiwan by China, which claims sovereignty over the island state.

David Stuckenberg, a US national security expert, told The Express that it was just a matter of time before China invaded Taiwan and suggested Beijing had even greater ambitions of conquest.

“It’s nearly imminent,” he said. “They’ve already expressed that they want unification.”

He added: “And if we look at it through the historic lens, we know that Taiwan’s very existence as a democratically ruled government is an affront to the Communist Party. Every day that it exists is an insult.

“And so the question is one of timing and what it means, and it means a lot. It means a lot to the world, because if you for one minute think that China was going to stop at Hong Kong, or would stop at Taiwan, you can think again.

“It’s part of a grander strategy, an imperial plan to reassert globally.”