China’s latest weapon against Taiwan- find out more
As reported by Reuters, the Chinese goal, Taiwanese officials say pressure Taiwan by tying down the island democracy’s naval defences and undermining the livelihoods of Matsu residents.
While on patrol, Taiwanese coast guard commander Lin Chie-ming spotted a new weapon, possibly to be used in this new kind of warfare China will be engaging with Taiwan.
Lin’s nine-man crew spotted two 3,000-ton sand dredgers, dwarfing Taiwan’s 100-ton vessel. Parked just outside Taiwan’s waters, neither of the dredgers clearly displayed their names, making it difficult for a crew member to identify them as he peered through binoculars.
“They think this area is part of China’s territory,” said Lin to Reuters, referring to Chinese dredgers that have been intruding into Matsu’s waters. “They usually leave after we drive them away, but they come back again after we go away.”
The sand-dredging is one weapon China is using against Taiwan in a campaign of so-called “grey-zone warfare”. Grey zone warfare entails using irregular tactics to exhaust a foe without actually resorting to open combat.
Since June last year, Chinese dredgers have been swarming around the Matsu Islands, dropping anchor and scooping up vast amounts of sand from the ocean bed for construction projects in China.
Besides Matsu, where 13,300 people live, the coast guard says China has also been dredging in the shallow waters near the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which has long served as an unofficial buffer separating China and Taiwan.