Taiwan is an island nation and the ocean is its most natural protective barrier. However, the nation's long and complex coastline also presents problems and risks in relation to law enforcement and epidemic prevention. To strengthen the enforcement of maritime law and safeguard the nation's maritime sovereignty, the Ocean Basic Act was promulgated in November 2019. This was followed by the publishing of the National Ocean Policy White Paper in June 2020 and the promotion of the Salute to the Seas policy.
In the last few years, the government has significantly increased coast guard manpower and maintained a continuous drumbeat of coast guard vessel shipbuilding, integrating cross-ministerial resources to defend the coastline, curb illegal smuggling, and block firearms, narcotics, African swine fever, illegal migrants and contraband from entering the nation's borders.
Three policy directions
■ Uphold maritime security: Proactively investigate and apprehend illegal agricultural, aquatic and animal products, narcotics, firearms, smuggled cigarettes and illegal migrants to effectively curb smuggling operations and safeguard border security. Enforce border epidemic prevention through vessel inspections to prevent undeclared meat products from entering the nation's borders, and carry out inspections of pig carcasses at coastal entry points to prevent animal diseases from entering the nation's borders.
■ Defend the nation's sovereignty: Use a variety of means, including expulsion, vessel impoundment and the levying of fines, to deal with Chinese fishing vessels detected operating within Taiwanese sovereign waters. Robustly clamp down on and punish Chinese sand dredging vessels that encroach into Taiwanese waters to steal sand, thereby defending the nation's marine resources and preventing erosion of the nation's borders.
■ Implement an indigenous shipbuilding program: Achieve the construction of 184 next-generation patrol vessels by 2031 required to bolster offshore patrol capabilities, guarantee the nation's maritime interests and support the fishing industry in the nation's exclusive economic zones and international waters.