KAOHSIUNG , Taiwan, July 1 (UPI) — Taiwan’s navy mistakenly fired a supersonic missile designed to penetrate warships Friday, striking a fishing boat and killing its captain.
The Hsiung Fang III missile was aboard a patrol boat undergoing a drill inspection in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, when the missile was accidentally fired toward the Chinese mainland, a navy official said. The missile flew for about two minutes across the Taiwan Strait, dividing China from Taiwan, but did not cross the maritime border line.
Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi said the missile struck a fishing boat, killing the Taiwanese captain. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu later noted the crew members were from Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. An officially apology from the Ministry of National Defense came later in the day, the state-owned Central News Agency reported, along with an assurance the ministry would compensate the victims and their families.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province to eventually be reunited with the mainland. Vice Adm. Mei Chia-shu, the Taiwanese navy’s chief of staff, said Taiwanese military radar did not observe any abnormal responses from China’s aircraft of navy vessels.
The incident came as China began celebrations for the 95th anniversary of the founding of its Communist Party.
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, in Los Angeles on her way home from a visit to Latin America, was briefed on the incident and ordered an investigation, presidential spokesman Alex Huang said.