(From the National Interest)
By Tom Hanson
China’s militarized fishing fleet is Beijing’s analogue to Russia’s ‘little green men’. The protection of ‘innocent actors’ from local authorities (for instance, the Indonesian Coast Guard lawfully defending its EEZ) is only the latest event in which Chinese coast guard vessels were empowered to conduct acts of war.
Article 62 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that “Nationals of other States fishing in the exclusive economic zone shall comply with the conservation measures and with the other terms and conditions established in the laws and regulations of the coastal State.” Foremost among those ‘other terms’ for fishermen must be having permission to fish inside another nation’s EEZ in the first place.
Chinese fishermen had no such permission ahead of the March 19 confrontation, and Indonesian authorities seized both boat and crew. Chinese authorities intervened in order to prevent Indonesia from enforcing its own laws within its EEZ—laws that would have seen Kway Fey 10078 summarily sunk. Indonesia’s ‘you cheat, you sink’ policy toward illegal fishing, the brainchild of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, is immensely popular in Indonesia, though it has only been applied once in previous encounters with illegal Chinese fishing. Read more