Situated just a short distance from China's shores, Kinmen has become a focal point for increased activity by China's coast guard, challenging Taiwan's designated maritime zones.

Chinese coast guard ships are now frequently seen in the area, making incursions into waters restricted by Taiwan, a designation Beijing rejects. This recent escalation has led to temporary restrictions on fishing activities, leaving dozens of fishing boats in Kinmen's harbors idle. Boat tours around Kinmen continue but under closer scrutiny from Taiwan's coast guard, with officers cautioning captains against straying into Chinese waters.

Despite the tensions, many Kinmen residents, accustomed to living in a geopolitical hotspot, remain nonchalant. For them, life continues as usual, with the low tourist season and quiet streets.

The Island resisted against Chinese attack during the Cold War

The historical backdrop of Kinmen as a frontline during the Cold War, enduring multiple amphibious assaults and shelling, has instilled a resilience among its residents.

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While Kinmen was once seen as a potential conduit for peaceful exchanges between Taiwan and China, the current atmosphere appears frosty. China, blaming Taipei for the fishermen's deaths, has increased its presence in the area, aiming to challenge Taiwan's control. Analysts suggest that China is employing "gray zone" tactics, coercive actions short of open warfare.

Taiwan's security agencies view the incident as a pretext for such tactics, prompting continuous evaluation of the need for reinforcements around Kinmen. However, the island's coast guard has maintained its current posture to prevent an escalation. Recent events, including Chinese coast guard ships entering restricted waters, have raised political significance, seen by Taiwan as a declaration of sovereignty.

Ferry services between Kinmen and Xiamen

The situation took an unprecedented turn when Chinese coast guard officers boarded a Taiwanese tour boat for inspection, sparking panic among passengers. The incident has raised concerns among local operators that repeated inspections may deter tourists, impacting Kinmen's tourism industry already facing a lull due to the foggy season.

While ferry services between Kinmen and Xiamen are still operational, there is growing concern among locals that a miscalculation could lead to conflict. Residents, with memories of living through artillery shelling, express a deep worry about the potential rekindling of conflict in Kinmen.