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Taiwan Detains Fishermen

BEIJING - The Chinese mainland and Taiwan are maintaining communications over four mainland fishermen detained by Taiwan authorities earlier this month, a mainland official said Wednesday.

The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) were keeping in touch on the issue, Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a press conference.

A fishing boat was seized and the four crew from the mainland's Fujian province were arrested by a Taiwan patrol in waters near Lesser Kinmen Island on Jan 14.

The Taiwan media had reported that the boat was allegedly fishing in waters claimed as Taiwan's exclusive fishing zone.

A statement issued the same day by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Fujian provincial government urged the Taiwan authorities to release the fishermen as soon as possible.

The statement said the fishermen were working in the traditionally shared fishing area between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Fan said though there were occasionally collisions between fishing boats from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in the shared fishing areas, most of the time, fishermen from the two sides assisted each other.

Fan said the Chinese mainland had been showing hospitality to Taiwan fishermen by providing shelter, supplies, water and salvage services.

Moreover, the Fujian provincial government had been intensifying management of mainland fishermen in recent years to avoid disputes between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Fan said fishermen on both sides had long been fishing in the shared areas in the Taiwan Straits, and she called on the Taiwan authorities to work with the Chinese mainland to maintain order in those areas.

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