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Taiwan should be on high alert after the Chinese speedboat incursion! This is an original article from CNA FOCUS TAIWAN!

The speedboat the Chinese man used is seized by the Coast Guard Administration. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration June 10, 2024

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Defense experts have urged Taiwan’s government to be on high alert following the arrest of a Chinese national in New Taipei’s Tamsui District who claimed to have driven a speedboat as part of a mission to “defect” from China to Taiwan.

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) on Sunday arrested the man who allegedly drove a motorboat into a harbor at the mouth of the Tamsui River that leads into the capital Taipei.

The suspicious vessel was monitored after being spotted at around 11 a.m. Sunday, 6 nautical miles (11 kilometers) off the coast of Tamsui, according to the CGA.

After entering the Tamsui River, the boat collided with other vessels at a ferry terminal, prompting the Tamsui ferry operators to contact the CGA and file a report.

The intruder, identified as a 60-year-old man surnamed Ruan (阮), is now being questioned by Taipei prosecutors on suspicion of violating the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法).

An unnamed source familiar with the incident told local media that Ruan claimed he wanted to defect to Taiwan after making anti-Chinese government comments on online messaging apps.

The incident drew attention from media and military experts because the Tamsui River is considered a critical strategic location and serves as the gateway to Taipei, the nation’s political, economic and social capital, where the Presidential Office and other important government institutions are situated.

Taiwan’s military regularly holds drills in the Tamsui River estuary, the Port of Taipei, and Bali Beach — the so-called “defense triangle of Taipei” — to test its capability to guard the critical strategic location.

Asked to comment, three defense experts told CNA on Monday that it is still unclear whether Ruan really wanted to defect, or if the incident was part of a Chinese government test on Taiwan’s coastal and harbor management and defense.

Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), said it is unlikely Ruan could have driven more than 200 km from the coast of China to Taiwan on a speedboat.

It is more likely that his speedboat was released from a larger vessel midway, Su suspected.

Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Institute of Strategic Studies, said Taiwan has the technological capability to monitor its shores at all times, but that the Sunday incident revealed certain weaknesses in harbor management and control.

Lin said it was not unlikely that the Chinese Communist Party was behind the incident to test Taiwan’s defense abilities. He called on the government to remain on high alert.

Shu Hsiao-huang (舒孝煌), another INDSR member, said this incident shows Taiwan’s CGA, police, and military must have clearer jurisdictions to help them respond timely to such incidents.

“Or in the future, the People’s Liberation Army could continue testing Taiwan’s defenses near the Tamsui River estuary by sending more and more civilian ships, speedboats or even unnamed ships,” he warned.

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