The United States announced Friday that it has sent patrol boats to the Pacific Coast Guard to counter Chinas activities that “destabilize” disputed fishing areas in the South China Sea.
In a statement, Robert O’Brien, the White House National Security Adviser accused China of “illegal fishing” and “harassing” the fishing boats of its neighbors, adding that the US Coast Guard “is currently deploying fast patrol vessels in the western Pacific.”
President Donald Trump’s advisor said the patrol ships of the “Santinell” class would carry out maritime security missions, including helping fishermen “in cooperation with partners in the region who have limited maritime surveillance capabilities.”
O’Brien said the Department of Homeland Security’s Coast Guard force intends to keep a number of these patrol boats permanently in American Samoa in the South Pacific.
Washington accuses China of constantly violating international law by escorting its warships with Chinese fishing vessels operating in fishing grounds in other countries.
Last July, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke of a series of “bad behavior” in the South China Sea in recent months, accusing the Chinese army of sanking a Vietnamese fishing boat and “harassing” Malaysian oil exploration companies and escorting Chinese fishing boats to the exclusive economic zone of Indonesia. .
Last month, Jakarta protested against the incursion of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel into the exclusive economic zone of Indonesia, which is located between territorial waters and international waters and where the state has the exclusive right to exploit its resources.
China claims all of the South China Sea, while several states, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia object to that.