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MOFA to help Taiwanese rescued after collision with Japanese boat

MOFA to help Taiwanese rescued after collision with Japanese boat

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that it will provide all necessary assistance to 16 Taiwanese rescued from a fishing boat that sank after colliding with a Japanese patrol vessel.
"Lee Ming-tzung, the ministry's representative in Naha, has rushed to visit the 16 Taiwanese and has requested the local overseas Taiwanese leader to take care of them," said MOFA spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh at a regular press briefing.
A Taiwanese fishing boat with three crew members and 13 recreational fishermen sank around 3: 38 a.m. local time some 6 nautical miles southwest of the Tiaoyutai Islands, or Senkaku Islands in Japanese, after colliding with a Japan coast guard patrol boat.
The Japanese vessel Koshiki was on a routine patrol near the disputed islands in the East China Sea when the incident occurred.
Reuters reported that the two boats collided when the Taiwanese fishing boat suddenly changed direction as the Japanese vessel attempted to check its name. Other reports said the accident happened as the Japanese coast guard vessel was chasing down the Taiwanese boat.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said details of the accident remained unclear and that it was still investigating the collision.
Yeh would only confirm that the captain was slightly injured and all 16 people rescued were taken to Ishigaki, an island in Japan's Okinawan chain some 200 kilometers south of the disputed islands.
She added that Taiwan's representative office in Tokyo has also expressed its concern to its counterpart and will work with the Japanese government to clarify responsibility for the incident.
"Our stance is that the ministry hopes to bring back the 16 people as soon as possible, and clarify who is responsible for the accident and the matter of indemnification," she said.
Based on the principles of rationality and peace, the MOFA hopes that the Japanese government will reopen bilateral talks with Taiwan over the disputed islands.
The uninhabited Tiaoyutai Islands were seized by Japan in 1895 when it colonized Taiwan. Tokyo continues to exert control, though both Taiwan and China also claim sovereignty.
The United States controlled the islands in World War II and returned them to Japan in 1972 along with Okinawa, despite protests from Taipei and Beijing.


Updated : 2021-06-19 19:59 GMT+08:00