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China unilaterally ceases joint maritime rescue drill with Taiwan

The decision could be made in relation to the heightened regional tensions

Cross-strait joint rescue drill (Photo by Coast Guard Administration)

Cross-strait joint rescue drill (Photo by Coast Guard Administration)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China has decided to halt the cross-strait joint maritime rescue drill this year amid heightened regional tensions, confirmed Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration on Oct. 25.

The agency said that China has expressed no interest in hosting the maritime exercise this year, despite a high-level visit by Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council in August to conduct exchanges with Chinese authorities, reported UDN.

The joint maritime rescue drill was first held in September of 2010 on the waters around Taiwan’s Kinmen islands and the southeast coastal city of China’s Xiamen following eased ties between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait starting in 2008.

Past exercises were conducted for better coordination of resources between Taiwan and China in simulated rescue operations in the event of vessels in distress, involving mayday relay, emergency communications, search and rescue, medical referral, firefighting effort, and other operations.