A Taiwanese naval vessel mistakenly launched at supersonic missile in waters separating Taiwan from China on Friday, which then hit a fishing boat and killed one person.
The patrol boat was being inspected ahead of a drill when the supersonic Hsiung Feng III "carrier killer" type missile was fired accidentally.
The missile travelled around 75 km in the direction of China before hitting a fishing boat, killing its Taiwanese captain. Reports suggest that the missile didn’t explode on impact and instead sank into the sea.
Following the incident, Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi told the media, "That this is politically motivated, or this is to create crisis in the surrounding situation, this is not the case."
However, the head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, referred to the incident as "a serious matter" and demanded an explanation.
During the final months of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, supporters of the nationalist Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan in the face of an onslaught by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.
Ever since, China’s government has viewed the island as a breakaway region which is still part of its territory, and has threatened to retake it by force if necessary.
Tensions between the two countries have been running particularly high since Tsai Ing-wen, who opposes reunifying Taiwan with mainland China, was elected as Taiwan’s president in May 2014.