Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chinese Navy Escorts Taiwanese Ship in the Gulf of Aden

Considering China's offer, we saw how the government responded. However, how would the government respond when a Taiwanese Company actually does request Chinese escort? 

A Chinese mainland naval fleet on Monday began to carry out an escort mission for four merchant ships including one from Taiwan in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia...

... Rear-Admiral Du Jingchen, commander of the naval fleet, said safeguarding transport in the Gulf of Aden and maintaining security of ships was the common wish of all pacifists including compatriots across the Taiwan Straits...

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reponse: excerpt from "ROC ship escorted by China off Somalia registered in Liberia: MAC."
A Mainland Affairs Council official said Tuesday that the Chinese navy's escort of a Taiwanese ship in the Gulf of Aden to protect it from pirate attacks was not arranged by Taiwan and that the ship was not registered in Taiwan or being used by a local company.

The council had previously said it would not request or accept assitance for Taiwanese ships from the Chinese naval fleet, but that pledge seemed to be ignored when one of the ships escorted Monday was an oil products tanker belonging to Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group named FormosaProduct Cosmos.

The MAC, however, denied any involvement in arranging the 553-nautical-mile escort and said the ship was registered in Liberia and rented out to a South Korean company.

"The MAC has in no way authorized Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to negotiate or accept the protection of Taiwanese vessels by the Chinese naval fleet in the Gulf of Aden, " said Chao.

He stressed that Taiwan is not prepared to accept China's offer to help and has no plans at the moment to negotiate the issue.

Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) notified the SEF Dec. 12 that Taiwanese ships under attack or afraid of being attacked by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden could request protection from China's naval task force through the SEF.

"There is currently no mechanism for processing requests by Taiwanese ships seeking escorts from Chinese warships in the Gulf of Aden, despite the Chinese Foreign Ministry's offer to protect Taiwanese vessels from pirates in the area," Chao said.

Now lets wait for the Presidential Office's reaction.

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