Friday, February 10, 2012

Ministry denies reports of PLA spy ship at Kaohsiung Port

Officials confirmed the vessel was registered with the People’s Republic of China, but said it entered Kaohsiung Harbor because of bad weather, as per international laws of the sea

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said that it monitored all maritime activity in the Taiwan Strait and dismissed a news report that the armed forces had failed to recognize a Chinese “spy” vessel that sought shelter at Kaohsiung Harbor during bad weather.

“The military fully monitors all ships and vessels passing through the Taiwan Strait, regardless of their nationality,” the ministry said in a press release.

Earlier the same day, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that a Panama-flagged ship, the Sui Jiu 201 (穗救201), had sailed from China to Kaohsiung Harbor on Feb. 2 and left the following day.

Other reports said the ship, which operates in the South China Sea, had departed from Qingdao in Shandong Province and passed by the Sea of Japan on its way to waters off Kaohsiung. The Apple Daily claimed the vessel was in close contact with the People’s Liberation Army Navy and was used to collect intelligence.

Online information shows that the Sui Jiu 201 is a salvage ship operated by the Guangzhou Salvage Bureau, under the Chinese Ministry of Transport.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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