TOKYO, Sep 28, 2020, Kyodo. A Japanese coast guard patrol ship and a Taiwanese fishing boat were involved in a minor collision on Sunday off the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, according to Japanese and Taiwanese authorities, Kyodo News reported.
The incident occurred within Japanese territorial waters off the Japan-administered islets when the patrol boat was warning the boat to leave the waters while sailing side by side with it, the Japan Coast Guard said Monday.
File photo taken in September 2012 shows the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Taiwan and China claim the uninhabited islands as their own. (Kyodo)
No one on either side was injured in the incident, according to the authorities. The coast guard said the Taiwanese boat was fishing illegally.
Taiwan’s coast guard said the boat carrying seven crew members returned to a port in the northeastern county of Yilan on Monday morning.
The uninhabited group of islets is administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan. China calls them Diaoyu, while Taiwan calls them Tiaoyutai.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters in Tokyo on Monday that Japan has made a representation over the incident to the Taiwanese side.
He added that the government intends to handle the matter “appropriately” while conducting a “necessary investigation.”
Premier Su Tseng-chang said Taiwan has demanded Japan explain what happened in the incident, and that Japan not treat Taiwanese fishermen unfairly.
The Japanese coast guard said the fishing boat got close to one of its patrol ships, resulting in a brush between the former’s bow and the latter’s stern.
According to Taiwanese media, the fishing boat made physical contact with an approaching Japanese coast guard ship while engaging in longline fishing in the waters.
China has been actively pushing its claims to the Senkakus, frequently sending patrol boats to the waters around the islets. Taiwan, in contrast, has advocated putting the territorial disputes aside and jointly developing resources in the area.