TAIPEI: Local maritime authorities in China have issued a warning about possible rocket debris in waters northeast of Taiwan, stating that ships will be prohibited from approaching the area on April 16.
According to a press release issued by Southern Fujian province’s Maritime Safety Administration on Thursday, vessels would be restricted from accessing the seas from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on that day.
The declaration follows China’s large-scale military drills, which formally ended Monday, in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s transit visit to the United States last week, during which she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. Tensions remain high, and China dispatched more than 200 airplanes flying into Taiwan over the weekend, while its navy ships circled the self-ruled island.
The declaration specifies a rectangular area in the East China Sea northeast of Taiwan.
The notice provides more information about the no-fly zone that China warned of earlier this week. Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation announced Wednesday that it had received notification from China’s Civil Aviation Administration that it will establish a control zone to “restrict flights” in sections of northern Taiwan from April 16 to 18, thus creating a no-fly zone.
Taiwan said it firmly objected to the notice and convinced China to shorten the flight prohibition from three days to 27 minutes on April 16. It’s unclear what China intends to do at that point. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry stated Wednesday that it was investigating the matter but could not provide any further information.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, which is a source of conflict in Beijing’s relationship with the United States, the island’s largest unofficial ally. The United States sells armaments to Taiwan, and a number of US senators have visited the island in the last year to show their support.