The Taiwanese navy accidentally fired an anti-ship missile in the direction of China Friday, killing the captain of a nearby fishing boat.
The missile flew for about two minutes toward the Penghu Islands, in the direction of mainland China. But it never crossed the midway line between Taiwan and China, Taiwan’s Vice Adm. Mei Chia-shu told The New York Times.
The slain fisherman was from Taiwan. The missile actually went through the boat without exploding, and three other crew members sustained only injuries. The crew members are from Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Phillippines.
China and Taiwan have fraught relations. China claims the island nation as its own. Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has been separate from the mainland since 1949, amid the Chinese Revolution. It is a state originally formed by anti-communist separatists and whose constitution still claims the territory of the pre-Mao Zedong Chinese government.
Today, some members of Taiwan’s political class seek an amicable return to China, while others oppose it. Officially, the United States backs and recognizes mainland China, an acceptance called the “one China” policy. But there is a long history of U.S. cooperation with Taiwan. As recently as December, the U.S. sold near $2 billion dollars in arms to Taiwan.