Home World News Chinese ‘dissident’ naval officer enters Taiwan by speedboat

Chinese ‘dissident’ naval officer enters Taiwan by speedboat

A Chinese ex-navy captain, claiming to be a defector, caught Taiwan’s navy off-guard by driving his speedboat directly to a pier outside the capital Taipei on Sunday.

The intrusion by a mainland Chinese man amid high-security measures in the midst of recurring tensions with China came in for strong criticism from Taiwan’s top politicians.

China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

The man, identified as Ruan, 60, was spotted 11 km off the coast of Tamsui in New Taipei.

After entering the Tamsui River, which leads to downtown Taipei, the boat hit a ferry at the pier, according to the coastguard, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Ruan, who claimed to be a former Chinese navy captain, said he left Ningde port in China’s coastal city of Fuzhou a day earlier. However, Taiwan’s coastguard said no food or drink was found on the boat and the man did not appear to have a tan.

According to the coastguard, the man said he was persecuted by mainland authorities for “making improper statements” and that he wished to flee to Taiwan.

He was being charged with violation of various Taiwanese laws including breaching the Immigration Act.

The possibility the Chinese speedboat incursion was a grey zone tactic by Beijing cannot be ruled out, Taiwan’s Defence Minister Wellington Koo said on Tuesday.

Following this, the defence ministry would strengthen measures to prevent sudden vessel intrusions from China, Taiwan News reported.

Taipei mayor Hou You-yi called it a serious security lapse, especially considering the pier is less than 10 minutes from Taipei by boat.

“National border security cannot afford any lapses. This incident indicates that the coastguard and the first-line security reporting mechanisms were not effectively managed,” he said.

China has intensified military drills involving its army, navy, air force and rocket force around Taiwan after Lai Ching-te, a pro-independence leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Presidential election last month.

Published By:

Ashutosh Acharya

Published On:

Jun 12, 2024