23 October 2014
A Chinese fisherman was shot dead on October 10 in a clash with South Korea’s Coast Guard, which accused Chinese fishermen of illegally fishing in South Korea’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The incident immediately caused tension between the two countries. A week later, a Chinese fishing boat captain was arrested by Japanese police for illegally fishing in waters near Japan’s Ogasawara islands.
In recent years, the region has been witnessing an increasing number of maritime incidents involving Chinese fishermen. These incidents have contributed to maritime tensions and occasionally even triggered clashes between China and its regional neighbors. To prevent or manage maritime incidents involving Chinese fishermen, it is important to understand the motivating factors behind the growing presence of Chinese fishermen in the disputed waters or even in other countries’ EEZs. Western media and some scholars tend to attribute it to a simple reason: China has weaponized its fishermen to strengthen its territorial claims in the disputed waters. China’s fishing expansion has been primarily driven, they argue, by strategic and political purposes, based on a strategy of “fish, protect, contest, and occupy.”
…Zhang Hongzhou is an associate research fellow with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 27/10/2014