US-led ‘Quartet’ to launch China’s illegal fishing tracking system

The United States, Japan, Australia and India are set to unveil a maritime initiative on Tuesday aimed at curbing illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific, a U.S. official said, the latest in the “quartet” of responses to Chinese activity in the region.

President Joe Biden and other leaders of the Quartet — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and newly elected Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese — The initiative will be announced at the conference Tokyo Summit, According to the official, he claims China is responsible for 95 percent of illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific region.

According to the official, the initiative will use satellite technology to link existing surveillance centers in Singapore, the Indo-Pacific region, and establish a tracking system for illegal fishing from the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia to the South Pacific.

The system would allow the U.S. and its partners to monitor illegal fishing, even if fishing boats turn off transponders typically used to track vessels at sea.

“We will provide a global capability to link these systems together so that illegal shipments can be traced for the first time,” the official said.

“China has become the largest illegal fishing actor in the world,” said Charles Edel, president of think tank CSIS Australia. “They severely deplete global fish stocks and disrupt traditional livelihoods in many countries, so any measures taken to track, identify and contain such activities will have environmental and safety benefits for the region.”

The U.S. sees the initiative as part of a broader strategy Reduce growing reliance on China some Pacific island nations.

“We’re just asking people in the region to remember that the United States and its partners and allies have been partners of choice for security and peace enforcement since the end of World War II,” said a State Department official, adding that Washington is “deepening our relationship with the region” to counter China.

From girls’ education to science and English education, the US will help, he said. It will also find ways to help them protect marine resources and democratic institutions.

“The United States has the tools and other countries have the tools to help them achieve what they want,” the official said. “What most of them want is not a military base in the People’s Republic of China.”

Another official said the U.S. is developing a multifaceted strategy, from greater engagement to helping with climate change, which is a existential threat For some Pacific Island countries.

He said the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France would soon launch an initiative called “Pacific Partners” to help Pacific island nations.

The official added that the United States was also in discussions with Fiji to “integrate it more closely into the emerging economic architecture that the United States is designing”. Biden will launch “Monday”Indo-Pacific Economic Framework“To strengthen economic engagement with Asian countries.

The new maritime initiative comes as the U.S. and its allies fear Beijing is negotiating a security deal with Kiribati, a nation of 33 islands that reportedly straddles the dividing line between the North and South Pacific Oceans by about 50 percent. 3,000 km. Financial Times report on Friday.

This year, the United States was shocked when China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands. Some experts believe this could pave the way for China to build naval bases and project power further into the Pacific.

Gregory Polin, head of the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, said the entry of Chinese troops into Kiritimati (Christmas Island) or other islands in eastern Kiribati would be much more serious than in the Solomon Islands.

“Not only are they relatively close to Hawaii, but under the Tarawa Treaty, the United States agreed to drop its claim to the islands on the condition that Kiribati would not allow any third party to base the islands on without consulting the United States,” Pauline said. .

Referring to China’s efforts to draw Pacific island nations closer, the first U.S. official said it marked a more ambitious strategy that would require Washington to significantly “step up our game.”

“China is doing a lot of things in the Pacific with old wine in new bottles. I don’t believe that’s what we’re dealing with,” he said.

“This is a step change in their ambitions. As a country with a long-term interest in the Pacific, this is an immediate challenge that we in the West must address.”

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