Taiwan and the US yesterday held the first coast guard working group meeting to discuss joint missions at sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The videoconference was convened in line with a memorandum of understanding signed on March 25 that established a joint coast guard working group, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry declined a request from the Taipei Times to name the participants or their rank, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
During the meeting, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and the US Coast Guard exchanged opinions over maritime law enforcement, including fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities, and joint search and rescue missions, the ministry said.
Taiwan-US enhanced cooperation in maritime affairs reflects the two nations’ deepened relations and intention to take joint action to promote regional peace and stability, it said.
The government is willing to work with the US and other like-minded nations to promote international cooperation in coast guard and other maritime issues, in a bid to defend a free, open and rules-based international maritime order, it added.
The working group is emblematic of the collaboration required of like-minded partners to overcome increasingly complex transnational problems, the American Institute in Taiwan said later yesterday.
Both sides discussed ways to improve joint maritime responses on search and rescue, disaster relief, environmental missions, and opportunities to improve communication and continue personnel educational exchanges, the institute said.
The meeting would convene regularly to coordinate on pressing maritime law enforcement and assistance concerns, it said.
Whether the issue involves aiding stranded cruise passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic, responding to an increasing number of tropical storms or interdicting illicit drug shipments at sea, international coast guard cooperation provides a critical public good to the global community, it added.
The US supports Taiwan’s meaningful participation and contribution to issues of global concern, including in maritime security and safety, and in building networks to facilitate maritime law enforcement information exchange and international cooperation, the institute said.
The meeting came after media reports on Tuesday said that Taiwan and US coast guard personnel had conducted a joint drill off the coast of Hualien County, reports that the CGA denied.
While there was a drill for its new patrol vessels, including the Chiayi (嘉義), no US vessel was involved, the CGA said.
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