THE DRAGON EXPANDS ITS MARITIME MILITIA
|US Coast Guard cutter Rush escorting the illegal fishing boat Da Cheng back to China.
EDITOR'S NOTE 9/8/2018 We noted the formation of the Chinese Coast Guard as it happened. We have noted previously that the Chinese "coast guard" does not operate in a manner similar to traditional coast guards except for claiming law enforcement jurisdiction, all too often in places where it has no such authority. We have published posts about the Chinese Cabbage Patch Strategy of surrounding other nation's off shore islands with rings of commercial fishing boats and then backing up their "fishing fleet" with coast guard and naval vessels and guns. However since we first published this post in 2015 we haven't mentioned again that China has armed and militarized her commercial fishing fleet into a "naval militia". For the reasons described in this 2015 post that is a very irresponsible and dangerous thing to do. We are republishing this post now and promoting it because this crazy dragon feat hasn't been widely enough discussed or analyzed in maritime forums.
When the inevitable exchange of fire between one of these armed fishermen and a Philippine, Vietnam, Singaporean coast guard vessel occurs will the Chinese claim that a "war ship" of their flag was attacked, or an errant and well meaning fisherman? China says the militarization of their fishing fleet will boost production. The only way arming fishing boats increases production is if you intend to rob the protected fishing grounds of another nation state. Once armed what will keep the fishermen from assuming that their "jurisdiction" and "sovereign immunity" don't extend to offshore Guam or Wake Island. Will they surrender peacefully when arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The maritime militia is pretty rag tag now but China is trying to build its first state owned commercial fishing fleet and first rank of the armed fishing vessel militia. We would suspect that the state owned and organized vessels might more closely respond to naval controls. But right now the Dragon has created Dodge City out there in the south China Sea. This is not going to end well.
Read more in the CHINA TIMES