DPP faces consequences after fatal expulsion of mainland fishing boat
Published: Feb 18, 2024 08:55 PM
Taiwan Photo: Unsplash

Taiwan Photo: Unsplash

Against the backdrop of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities on the island of Taiwan continuing to adopt hostile attitudes and actions toward the Chinese mainland, there is concern that the relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits will be dragged into deeper waters, fraught with more dangers.

A tragic incident happened on Wednesday in the waters near Kinmen, a group of islets in the Taiwan Straits. Two fishermen from the Chinese mainland were killed after a fishing boat from the southeastern Fujian Province was forcefully driven away by Taiwan authorities in the waters near Kinmen. On Sunday, it was announced that the Fujian Coast Guard will carry out regular patrols in the waters between Xiamen and Kinmen. This decision later received "firm support" from the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

This marks the third time the Office has spoken out on the incident that has seriously upset compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. It demonstrates the mainland's strong indignation toward the DPP authorities' terrible attitude toward this incident and their indifference to the lives of the people on the mainland.

Comparing the three statements from the Office, it is noticeable that the first one made on the very day of the incident has somewhat given the Taiwan authorities some room to correct their mistakes. But the DPP has stubbornly continued to provoke.

Subsequently, the mainland side has made further responses. First, it has emphasized that since ancient times, fishermen from both sides of the Straits have been operating in the traditional fishery zones of the Straits and that there has never been such a thing as "off-limit" or "restricted" waters in the zones. Second, it has expressed its support for the Fujian Coast Guard's regular patrol decision to exercise the mainland's right to law enforcement in these zones, demonstrating that the mainland will not make any compromises on this matter.

Wang Yingjin, director of the Center for Cross-Straits Relations Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that the lack of regular patrols by the China Coast Guard in the Xiamen-Kinmen waters in the past does not mean that the mainland has no jurisdiction over this area. Fujian Coast Guard's regular patrol decision serves as evidence that there is no "off-limit" or "restricted" waters in the Xiamen-Kinmen zones. As a countermeasure to the DPP authorities' mishandling of the tragedy, it also aims to push the party responsible for this incident to calm down.

Ironically, it is not difficult to find out from news reports that the Taiwan side has previously handled maritime disputes with other parties in a softer manner. It often turns a blind eye to the Japanese fishing vessels sailing into waters near Taiwan, which sharply contrasts with how Taiwan authorities violently expelled the mainland fishing boat, resulting in the deaths of two mainland fishermen. The recklessness of the DPP must be corrected and counteracted, and justice and fairness in the Taiwan Straits must be maintained.

All kinds of contradictions have accumulated in cross-Straits relations over the years of the DPP's rule. In the aftermath of this tragedy, some political forces on the island of Taiwan, led by the DPP, have ignored the facts and thrown mud at the mainland and its fishermen. They have continued to exploit this incident to incite hostility toward the mainland among the residents of Taiwan. Such actions will obviously further worsen cross-Straits relations, making it difficult to resolve maritime disputes or maintain normal exchanges and communication.

Resolving cross-Straits conflicts requires the release of goodwill whenever possible. However, it is evident that the DPP is not interested in this approach. Instead, it deliberately stokes hatred between the two sides of the Straits, undermining the status quo in the region and turning the Taiwan Straits into an even more dangerous place.

It should be emphasized that on the issue of sovereignty, the Chinese mainland will not make any concessions, or tolerate any "Taiwan independence" movements. The DPP authorities have long been responsible for jeopardizing peace and stability in the Straits, and they will eventually face the consequences of their actions. If the DPP believes that it can act arbitrarily based on the mainland's goodwill and concern for Taiwan compatriots, it should be prepared for further countermeasures from the Chinese mainland.