According to police captain Shih Chun-hsu, the man, surnamed Zhou, was noticed late Friday night close to the port of Taichung after crossing the roughly 80 kilometer (50 mile) stretch of water from Fujian province, on China’s east coast.

He made the journey in a rubber dinghy fitted with an outboard motor carrying 90 liters of gasoline.

Zhou was detained in the early hours of Saturday, and advised police he had made a break for the island of Taiwan in search of “freedom and democracy.” He is presently in quarantine whereas police examine his story and guarantee he’s not a fugitive from justice.

The Taiwan Strait is one of probably the most militarized strips of water in the world, and is patrolled by each the Chinese and Taiwanese navies. According to a latest US Defense Department assessment, China alone has greater than 255 Coast Guard ships, in addition to dozens of heavily-armed naval vessels, in the area. The strait can be semi-regularly transited by US Navy assets in freedom of navigation operations.
The Republic of China (ROC), as Taiwan is formally recognized, just isn’t a member of the United Nations or bound by the Refugee Convention. The island doesn’t permit folks to formally declare asylum, and anybody discovered responsible of getting into the nation illegally faces up to three years in jail and a positive of 90,000 New Taiwan {dollars} ($3,200).

Zhou is being investigated for violating Taiwan’s nationwide safety and immigration legal guidelines, police stated in an announcement.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have been rising in latest months, as Beijing has stepped up air and naval drills around the self-ruled island, which the Communist Party regards as half of its territory and has vowed to “reunify” with mainland China, by pressure if mandatory.
In an interview with the UK’s Sky News last week, Taiwan’s international minister, Joseph Wu, stated China was “preparing for its final military assault” on the island, vowing to “defend ourselves to the very end.”

“Taiwan happens to be on the frontline of China’s expansion of its authoritarian order,” Wu stated. “And if Taiwan is taken by China, I think the consequences will be global.”

Washington’s engagement with Taipei elevated dramatically underneath President Donald Trump, a development that has largely continued underneath President Joe Biden.

Last month, the State Department released new guidelines reflecting “our deepening unofficial relationship,” enabling numerous authorities our bodies and officers to have extra engagement with Taiwanese counterparts, although Washington doesn’t formally acknowledge the ROC.
“We have a serious commitment to Taiwan being able to defend itself,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in April. “It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force.”


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