Japan Repels Taiwan Activists Nears Disputed Islands
Activists planned to install statue on island to help protect Taiwanese fisherman operating in area
Hilary Whiteman CNN
January 24, 2013HONG KONG (CNN) -- A boat carrying Taiwanese activists to islands disputed by Taiwan, Japan and China has been repelled by water cannon fired by the Japanese Coast Guard, according to state news agencies.
The ship, carrying seven people, was heading back to Taiwan after being confronted about 28 nautical miles from the islands which are known as the Senkakus in Japan, and Diaoyu in China.
Eight Japanese Coast Guard ships blocked the boat's path as it attempted to reach the disputed waters, according to Taiwan's central news agency (CNA) and Chinese state-run media Xinhua.
Activists on board had planned to conduct ceremonies relating to Matsu, the "Goddess of the Sea," according to the Li Yiqiang, secretary general of World Association for Protecting the Diaoyutais.
The activists included Hsieh Mang-lin, chairman of the Chinese Association for Protecting the Diaoyutais. He told CNA that they planned to install a statue of Matsu on the island to help protect Taiwanese fisherman operating in the area.
The Taiwanese Coast Guard escorted the vessel to the islands, according to CNA. They set out at 1.45 a.m. local time Thursday from Shenao in New Taipei and was expected to return home the same afternoon, the report said.
CNN's Jethro Mullen, CY Xu and Xinlei Pan contributed to this report