A Taiwan warship mistakenly launched a supersonic “aircraft carrier killer” missile toward China Friday, hitting a fishing boat and killing the boat’s captain in an incident China called “a serious matter.”
A spokesman for Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense apologized on behalf of the military.
“The Ministry of National Defense sincerely apologizes for the incident that caused the death of the captain (of the boat) and injured other crew members,” Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-Chi said in a news conference. The ministry has also asked the Navy to provide assistance and compensation to the family of the victims.
The deceased captain has been identified as Huang Wen-Chung, the defense ministry confirmed, according to Taiwan Focus, the English-language service of state-run Central News Agency.
Chung-Chi said the missile, the “Hsiung Feng III,” ripped through the fishing boat but did not explode.
An investigation into the incident has begun, Chung-Chi added.
China’s top official in charge of Taiwan policy, Zhang Zhijun, said Friday that Taiwan must provide a “responsible explanation” for the launch of the missile, calling it a “serious matter.”
Relations between Taiwan – officially the Republic of China – and the People’s Republic of China have been increasingly tense since the landslide election of Tsai Ing-wen, whose party has traditionally leaned in favor of formal independence from China.