Fighting PRC Illegal Fishers in Argentina, Indonesia

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 3/23/2016 05:18:00 PM
PRC "fishing" boat headed for Davy Jones' Locker.
The PRC's fisher militia strikes again, destroying goodwill as it poaches throughout the world.

I have previously written about how the PRC deploys its so-called "fishing" vessels in pursuit of foreign policy objectives in the Philippines. Aside from exacerbating overfishing by exploiting waters they have dubious claims to, Chinese fishing vessels serve a paramilitary purpose. Being ostensibly "civilian" ships instead of military ones, they should raise fewer suspicions when they accomplish national policy.

Lest you think I'm biased, two recent incidents illustrate the global reach of these nefarious vessels and their dubious purposes. A few months ago, the Chinese inked a deal with Argentina to build a new nuclear plant in the near future. Unfortunately, PRC-Argentina relations recently took a turn for the worse when Argentinian forces sunk a PRC "fishing" ship in its waters:
Argentina's coast guard has sunk a Chinese trawler that was fishing illegally within its territorial waters, the coast guard said on Tuesday, marking a first test for relations between recently elected President Mauricio Macri and Beijing.

In a high-seas chase, a coast guard vessel on Monday pursued the fishing vessel Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 toward international waters, firing warning shots across the Chinese boat's bow as it attempted to raise the crew by radio.

"On several occasions, the offending ship performed manoeuvres designed to force a collision with the coast guard, putting at risk not only its own crew but coast guard personnel, who were then ordered to shoot parts of the vessel," the coast guard said in a statement.
And here's the part about the nuclear plants:
Relations between Argentina and China tightened under former leftist leader Cristina Kirchner. While Mr Macri promised during last year's presidential race to review all new contracts with China, he has shown no sign of doing so. Among those deals were an agreement to finance and build two nuclear power plants in Argentina in a deal worth up to $US15 billion ($20 billion).
Apparently, China did not tell its fisher militia to, ah, not test the waters by violating others' waters and acting so aggressively. For, a few days later, it was Indonesia's turn to detain more PRC fisher militiamen:
Indonesia detained the crew of a Chinese boat suspected of illegally fishing in its waters after a chase involving a Chinese coast guard vessel. The government submitted a protest to China’s charge d’affaires Sun Weide in Jakarta over the incident in Indonesia’s economic zone near the Natuna islands, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, according to state news agency Antara.

Earlier, ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said a Chinese coast guard vessel had entered the melee, colliding with the fishing boat as it was being towed by an Indonesian patrol ship. It was unclear how many fishermen were on the boat and are now being held. “We are concerned, but I can’t say much more before all the facts are verified,” Nasir said.

Under President Joko Widodo the government has taken a more assertive approach to foreign policy, stepping up control of the borders of the world’s largest archipelago, developing its coast guard and blowing up vessels found illegally fishing in its waters. Indonesia is also deploying warships in the gas-rich waters around Natuna, in response to China’s growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea. 
As it turns out, China had pressured Indonesia not to publicize the incident. Indonesia not being directly a claimant to the South China Sea, it had tried to be a neutral peacemaker among contesting parties. However, with China acting aggressively against it via its fisher militia, you can bet that even PRC-Indonesia have come under strain:
Hours after reports of a confrontation between a Chinese coastguard ship and an Indonesian vessel in the South China Sea, a top Chinese diplomat called an Indonesian government official with a plea: Don’t tell the media, we are friends after all.

That request was rebuffed as officials in Jakarta called a press conference to complain about China’s actions. While Indonesia has largely been on the periphery of disputes between China and other nations over the South China Sea, the spat risks drawing the Southeast Asian nation into territorial contests in the oil-and-gas rich waters.

The Indonesian official said his government didn’t want to respond, but was forced to because China’s actions were especially provocative, and fitted a pattern of becoming more assertive in the waters. The official didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the incident. The Chinese embassy didn’t answer four phone calls or reply to two e-mails asking about the call.
BOTTOM LINE: Like the US before it, China is a bully that needs to be put in its place. It claims not to seek hegemony, but its territorial claims are ludicrous and its territorial violations span the globe as its fishing fleet rams any and all who dare contest its illegal overfishing activities.

I'd suggest that the dozens of aggrieved countries band together and develop a strategy to deal with these "fishing" Chinese bandits. Overfishing is not a laughing matter. Sure, China needs to fill ever-greater demand for seafood of its increasingly affluent population, but there are limits to acceptable behavior in the international community. If detaining and, indeed, even stopping these offenders is necessary, let's just say no one is especially sympathetic to the PRC.

When China is keen to offend even those who view it more positively than others like Argentina and Indonesia, well, that's the likely result. With friends like China...