Wrecks of space rockets fall, China will ban ships from approaching Taiwan. Photo/CNA
BEIJING – China’s provincial maritime authority said it would bar ships from entering northern Taiwan on Sunday (16/4/2023) due to the possibility of falling rocket debris. The ban came days after Beijing conducted large-scale military exercises around the island.
“The area approximately 160 km from Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, will be closed from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. local time,” the maritime safety administration of China’s east Fujian province said, as quoted by Channel News Asia, Thursday (13/4/2023).
The agency added that ships would be “barred entry” during the shutdown.
The announcement came after Taiwan’s transport ministry said Beijing plans to impose a no-fly zone over the north of the island due to “space activity”.
“The air restrictions will be in effect from 9:30 a.m. to 9:57 a.m. local time on Sunday,” the ministry said, adding that the zone is located in the convergence area of many international routes.
Quoting Taiwan’s Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai, the country’s official news agency reported the no-fly zone will affect around 33 flights.
China had initially planned a three-day shutdown but relented after objections from Taiwanese authorities, according to the ministry.
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry declined to confirm whether a no-fly zone would be enforced, with ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin telling reporters at regular briefings to refer to “competent authorities”.
It’s unclear what connection, if any, there is between the no-go zone and Beijing’s recent war games.
Taiwanese authorities did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests for comment.