Former Chinese Navy Captain Arrested in Taipei Harbor Under Investigation

A former Chinese navy captain was arrested on Sunday for illegally entering a Taipei harbor in a speedboat, authorities in Taiwan said, adding that he could have been on a military probe as part of China’s “grey zone” operations against the island.

According to an Al Jazeera report, citing Taiwan authorities, the man was arrested by Taiwan’s coastguard after crossing the 160km Taiwan Strait that separates the island state from China, and entering the mouth of the Tamsui River in his small craft.

The report added that he told authorities that he wanted to defect. However, officials said, he might have been gauging Taiwan’s reaction to his strategy.

The 60-year-old, who Taiwan said was an officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy surnamed Ruan, is now under investigation and being questioned.

Kuan Bi-ling, the president of Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council (OAC), who is in charge of the coastguard, told reporters at parliament that he was “quite elegant and well presented.”

Speaking to reporters, Taiwan’s Defence Minister Wellington Koo said the boat incident might be another instance of China’s “grey zone” operations against the island. ‘Grey Zone tactics’ are referred to as irregular tactics to evaluate an area without engaging in open combat and have included China sending boats and military aircraft above the self-governed island.

Previously, in March, two Taiwanese fishermen entered Chinese territorial seas when they ventured into the area around the Kinmen Islands, which is adjacent to China’s shore. One of the military officers from Taiwan, is still being held captive in China, while the other was freed shortly after, according to Al Jazeera .

The most recent incident occurred while tensions between China and Taiwan were on the rise and there were worries that China may use force to assert its claim on the island.

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