MOFA hoping to work with Indonesia on law enforcement at sea

Taipei, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is looking to set up a cooperation mechanism with Indonesia on law enforcement at sea after several cases of Indonesian authorities randomly inspecting and boarding Taiwanese fishing vessels.

Seven Taiwanese fishing boats have been boarded, searched and detained by Indonesian authorities without proper cause since the start of the year, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (???) said Friday.

The boats were not found to have engaged in any illegal activities or to have carried any illegal products, he said.

Winston Chen (???), director-general of MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, met with Indonesia's representative to Taiwan Robert Bintaryo on Wednesday and lodged a strong protest against that country's actions.

According to Lee, however, Taiwan understands that Indonesia is not specifically targeting Taiwan-registered vessels but rather taking a comprehensive, non-profiling approach to law enforcement to crack down on illegal entry and smuggling.

That has included boarding and inspecting vessels from Malaysia and Thailand as well as Taiwan recently, Lee said.

The spokesman said Taiwan was willing to help Indonesia with its mission as combating drug smuggling is a key part of Taiwan's international cooperation efforts.

The most recent Taiwan-registered vessel searched by Indonesian authorities was the Da Wei No. 13, which was detained in the Strait of Malacca on April 15 and was released a day later after it was searched.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel