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Taiwan and China perform rare joint rescue mission at sea

Taiwan and China dispatched teams on a rare joint mission to rescue a boat that capsized near Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands, amid heightened tensions in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

Authorities from both sides dispatched rescue boats after a Chinese fishing vessel capsized in the early hours of the morning, Taiwan’s coast guard said in a statement.

Two people were found dead, two were rescued and two were still missing, it said.

Taiwan dispatched coast guard boats to join the rescue after Chinese authorities asked them for help, according to a senior Taiwan official who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

China’s coast guard last month began regular patrols around the Kinmen islands, which are close to China’s coast, after two Chinese nationals died trying to flee Taiwan’s coast guard after their boat entered prohibited waters.

The Chinese fishing boat capsized around 1.07 nautical miles west of Taiwan’s Dongding Island, Taiwan’s coast guard said.

Taiwan’s armed forces stationed on the island were also involved in the rescue, it added without elaborating.

Taiwan dispatched four coast guard boats and their Chinese counterparts sent in six boats for the rescue, it said.

Taiwan’s top China policy-making body urged China last week not to change the “status quo” around waters there by sending coast guard boats into restricted areas, saying tension should be “controllable”.

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