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Taiwan threatens to board Chinese surveillance ship in island's waters
TAIPEI (AFP) May 24, 2005
Taiwan has threatened to board a Chinese surveillance ship which it says has ignored repeated demands to leave the island's waters, officials said Tuesday.

"We will forcefully board 'Fendou No. 4' if our warning continues to be ignored," an official with Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration told AFP following a two-day standoff between a fleet of coast guard frigates and the Chinese ship.

The vessel, affiliated with China's Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, was first spotted Sunday when it was sailing some 95 nautical mileskilometers) southwest of the island's southern city Kaohsiung, the coast guard said.

The Chinese ship has since refused to leave the waters, prompting Taiwan's coast guard to send four frigates to watch over the intruder.

"We tried to approach the ship and force it to leave the area, but the warning was apparently overlooked," the coast guard official said.

This marks the second time in less than a month a Chinese surveillance ship was found illegally entering Taiwan's 200-mile economic zone.

Though they are governed separately, China considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Relations between the two have remained tense since Taiwan's independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian was first elected in 2000. He won re-election in 2004.

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