On the eve of Lai Ching-te’s inauguration as Taiwan’s new president, the island’s coastguard has ramped up patrols over the weekend amid the increased presence of Chinese vessels.

Taipei’s Coast Guard Administration said on Sunday it had sent out personnel to “patrol all hours of the day and night” around Taiwan’s three major outlying islands: Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.

“In order to ensure the security of the sea area and border safety during the inauguration ceremony, the Ocean Affairs Council’s Coast Guard Administration’s Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Division once again implemented a powerful patrol operation … to closely monitor suspicious targets,” it said in a statement.

“The Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Division said that the national security work will not slacken during the important celebrations,” it added.

Taipei’s Ministry of National Defense earlier reported that it had detected seven Chinese aircraft and seven naval vessels around Taiwan in the 24-hour period leading up to 6am on Sunday (22:00 GMT, Saturday).

Lai spent his Sunday fishing shrimp with leaders from some of Taiwan’s handful of remaining diplomatic allies, including Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine.

May 19, 2024

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