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Taiwan says a Chinese warship slammed into one of its cargo ships          News in English


Taiwan says a Chinese warship slammed into one of its cargo ships and then sailed off into the night

The Taiwanese Yutai No. 1 cargo vessel is seen with damage in Kinmen, Taiwan.

Taiwan Coast Guard Administration via AP.

A mysterious Chinese warship collided with a Taiwanese cargo ship in the Taiwan Strait and fled the scene, the island's coast guard told local media.

The unidentified People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warship slammed into the Yutai No. 1, a freighter registered in Kaohsiung, at around 8 pm on Wednesday about 20 miles from Liaoluo Port in Kinmen, Taiwan News reports, citing a press statement by the local coast guard.

The Chinese military vessel requested that the freighter sail to Xiamen, China for an investigation, Chen Jian-wen, a Taiwan coast guard official, told local media, explaining that the cargo ship "asked us to send patrol ships to the rescue." Two patrol boats were sent out in response, the South China Morning Post reports.

The freighter's hull was damaged, but the crew was unharmed, the coast guard confirmed when they arrived on scene at around 10 pm.

After escorting the cargo ship back to Liaoluo Port, the coast guard set out in search of the Chinese vessel, making contact right around midnight. " The military vessel said its hull was seriously damaged and its navigation was limited. It refused to stop as it immediately needed to return to Xiamen port for safety," Chen explained.

The Taiwan coast guard said that it was unable to identify the hull number on the Chinese PLAN vessel in the dark. Taiwanese officials did not identify the type of vessel either.

The ship that collided with the freighter is believed to be one of two — a newly-commissioned Type 071 amphibious transport dock ship or a cruiser — that have been patrolling the Taiwan Strait, an unnamed source familiar with the incident told the China Times.


As many as 6,000 US troops could be withdrawn as part of the initial deal - AFP

US to pull out thousands of troops under Taliban deal

America could withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan in the coming months as part of an initial peace agreement with the Taliban.

American and militant envoys meeting in Qatar's capital said they were optimistic of soon clinching a deal to end America's 18-year-old conflict.

An initial deal would see US troop numbers fall to as low as 8,000 from their current level of 14,000, the Washington Post reported. In return the Taliban would have to give guarantees Afghan soil would not become a launchpad for transnational terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. They would also begin negotiating with the Afghan government to find a wider political settlement to the world's deadliest conflict.

"I would say that they are 80 or 90 percent of the way there," one official told the paper. "But there is still a long way to go on that last 10 or 20 percent."

Sources familiar with the talks said argument among the Taliban may still scupper a deal. The militants have until now demanded a full US withdrawal before they talk to Ashraf Ghani's government and it is unclear if hardliners will accept a partial withdrawal to start. Details of how and agreement might be monitored or verified were also still being hammered out.

“Dissension in the Taliban ranks may yet throw spanners in the works. But overall it's positive,” said one official.

It was not immediately clear if there was progress on the other element of talks, the Taliban's agreement to a ceasefire. Zalmay Khalilzad, Donald Trump's peace envoy, has said until now that a deal cannot be finalised until all the elements, including a truce, are agreed.

Casualties have continued to mount steeply as sides in the conflict have continued to fight while negotiating.

Mr Khalilzad is under intense pressure to find Mr Trump a way out of the war, which the US president has dismissed as a costly failure. The talks are also overshadowing campaigning for September's the Afghan presidential elections, with candidates unsure whether an election will even be held in the event of a deal.

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