China goes fishing
By Li YongYan
China is fast becoming a formidable sea power of the other marine variety. It doesn’t yet have monstrous aircraft carriers capable of delivering awesome fire power in the world’s seven seas, but there is a huge fleet of small fishing trawlers flying Chinese flags that sail the ocean blue.
Yes, the Chinese like fish, too, braised or steamed. So the nets are cast far and wide, harvesting not only the delicious protein but also the ire of its near, and not so near neighbors. On February 28, South Korea charged that in the preceding 12 days alone, as many as 152 Chinese boats were “detained” for illegal fishing activities in Korea’s “Exclusive Economic Zone”. These offending vessels from China, according to Korea’s coast guards, often fail to abide by the bilateral fishing protocol between the two countries and operate in forbidden areas. This is not the first time China infringed on Korea’s exclusive economic zones. On September 28, Korea intercepted two 125-ton Chinese trawlers at roughly the same spot.
Apparently, gunboats and diplomatic protest notes are not adequate deterrents for the fish-hungry Chinese. Just as Korean sea patrols were rounding up the hundred or so Chinese ships, another 20 Chinese fishing boats crossed the Equator and steamed straight into the custody of Papua New Guinea for violating the waters of that small Pacific island country, according to Australian media reports.
No corner of the world is too far for the Chinese. South America is now within easy reach of Chinese seafarers. On November 19, 219 Chinese fishermen on board nine Chinese fishing vessels got into trouble in Peruvian territorial waters, and were escorted by the Peruvian navy into holding pens at a Peru port 10 miles from Lima