Washington/Quito: – US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has warned that China should immediately stop the intrusion attempts with its fishing boats in the Ecuador marine limits. The US Secretary of State also claimed that the United States is standing firm behind Ecuador in this matter. Since the last few days, a fleet of Chinese fishing boats is loitering dangerously in the protected Galapagos Islands marine region in the Pacific Ocean. Ecuador Defence Minister, Oswaldo Jarrin, has expressed fears that these Chinese movements can pose a threat to Ecuador’s security.
Galapagos Islands, a part of the Latin American continent, is a protected group of 9 islands and the United Nations has awarded it the status of World Heritage Site. Varied varieties of rare marine life and other biodiversity is found in this region, spread over nearly 60,000 square kilometres. Fishing boats from many countries try and intrude in this marine region for the rare varieties of fish and turtles found here. But it has been observed over the last few years that the Chinese illegal movements in this region have increased considerably.
In 2017, a Chinese ship was detained from the Galapagos Islands marine region. Illegal haul of nearly 300 tonnes of fish and the rare marine species was seized from the boat. 20 Chinese sailors and fishermen were also arrested in this matter. Therefore, Ecuador has taken a very aggressive stand this time around and has ordered its navy to be on high alert. At the same time, Ecuador has also talked to the Latin American countries and has indicated that help will be sought from them, if need be.
The United States, which has openly challenged China over the security of the Indo-Pacific sector, has also jumped into the fray. The US Southern Command, responsible for Latin America, has indicated that it has taken cognisance of these ships and said that it was watching the movements. Following the Southern Command, the US National Security Council also has tweeted in support of Ecuador. The tweet assured ‘If anyone tried to encroach on the economic and natural sovereignty of Ecuador, the United States would firmly stand with President Lenin and his colleagues against it’. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also has warned China over the issue.
US Secretary of State issued a stern warning by stating that China should immediately stop its illegal fishing activities. It is necessary that China curtails the activities, causing losses to the marine regions in cruel ways and violating the rules. The United States is standing firm with Ecuador in this matter. China should immediately stop this clandestine fishing done using uncontrolled methods.’ The aggressive reactions received from US Secretary of State and the US National Security Council are considered to be a part of the campaign started by the United States against Chinese activities.
Intrusion attempts by fleets of Chinese fishing boats into the marine regions of other countries in the South China Sea have been exposed even in the past. These fishing boats have the support of the Chinese navy and the coast guard, and it is believed that this fleet is operating as the Naval Militia. Various think tanks and analysts have claimed that these fleets are being used by the Chinese communist government as a medium to claim its rights over the marine regions outside its own maritime limits. Therefore, the activities of the Chinese fishing boats in the oceanic area near Latin America become noteworthy.