Taiwan expelled nearly 4,000 Chinese vessels illegally dredging sand from its waters in 2020, authorities said Monday, a more than six-fold increase on the year before as Beijing seeks to heap pressure on the democratic island.
China has taken an increasingly belligerent tone towards Taiwan under President Xi Jinping — especially over the last twelve months with Beijing’s jets and bombers buzzing the island at a record rate.
But the waters surrounding Taiwan have become another hot zone.
Taiwan’s coastguard on Monday told AFP it recorded a huge spike in Chinese sand dredgers illegally entering its waters. Up to November last year, it expelled 3,969 vessels, compared to 600 in 2019 and 71 in 2018.
China’s leaders view Taiwan as their territory and have vowed one day to seize it, by force if necessary.