Taiwan deploys large patrol vessel
The newly-deployed 2,000 ton vessel is equipped with 40-millimeter machine guns and long-range water cannons.
A ceremony to mark the deployment was held on Saturday at the southern city of Kaohsiung. President Ma Ying-jeou said tension is escalating in waters around Taiwan.
He revealed plans to cope with the situation by deploying 35 more patrol ships over the next 6 years, which will include a 3,000 ton vessel.
Ma pledged that he will stand firm on Taiwan's territorial claims. However, he also stressed that all parties involved should set aside their claims and jointly develop resources in the area.
Taiwanese Coast Guard officials carried out a drill on the ship in waters near Kaohsiung. They used water cannons to protect fishermen from obstructions by foreign patrol boats. Part of the exercise was open to the media.
The drill was carried out in waters far from the disputed islands, in an apparent effort to avoid raising tensions with Japan.
Taiwan and Japan are currently in talks aimed at resuming negotiations for a fisheries agreement around the Islands.