July 4, 2016 -- The ROC government has kept neighboring countries informed regarding the accidental launch of an anti-ship missile on the morning of July 1 by a navy corvette in the southern port of Kaohsiung.
The Hsiung Feng III missile passed through a Taiwanese fishing boat without exploding, killing the Taiwanese captain and injuring three crew members, including a Filipino and a Vietnamese. The boat, the Xiang Li Sheng, was about 40 nautical miles away, between Taiwan proper and the outlying county of Penghu. The missile then went into the sea, without crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed her condolences to the family of the captain and apologized to those injured. “The government takes full responsibility and all related agencies will assist the families in seeking compensation,” she said.
The government notified neighboring countries July 1, making it clear that the incident was a result of human error during a ship’s training drill. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Manila Economic and Cultural Office and the Vietnam Economic-Culture Office in Taipei that a Filipino and a Vietnamese crew member aboard the Xiang Li Sheng had been hurt. MOFA also directed its representative offices in the Philippines and Vietnam to express the government’s sympathies to the families of the injured crew members.
The ministry also notified the American Institute in Taiwan, as well as the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei. The Mainland Affairs Council informed Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, while the Straits Exchange Foundation simultaneously advised mainland China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits of the incident. Japan was also later informed.
MOFA stresses that the incident occurred accidentally, due to human error in a ship’s training drill, and has no bearing on ROC cross-strait or diplomatic policy; that the ROC commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region has not changed; and that the ROC will provide a comprehensive account of the incident following further investigation, to prevent any misunderstanding.
ROC overseas missions in countries in the region have been instructed to explain this position to host governments.
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