Squid Boat "Diplomacy" By China's Maritime Militia

While the eyes of the world are on warships, China has a new tactic for global force projection, intimidation/plundering of distant nations, and landing of their extensive infantry on any distant shore--their 17,000-ship fishing fleet.  By contrast, the US distant-water fishing fleet numbers 300 ships which fish only part-time, returning to port for resupply and delivery of their catch.  Chinese ships are using replenishment-at-sea and underway-offloading of catches to extend their range and duration almost indefinitely.  These military tactics, rehearsed by the most advanced navies of the world for aircraft carrier operations and long-duration patrols, are now in the toolkit of the Chinese "merchant" marine to strip the world's oceans and mantain a lingering presence off the shores of even Africa and the Americas.  Most concerning is the belligerent presence of Chinese squid-fishing fleets off the Taiwanese (Republic Of China-ROC) Matsu Islands, which are as close as ten nautical miles to mainland China.  These fleets cause the entire sky to glow with an artificial Aurora, they are so numerous and so close to Taiwanese shores, and equipped with such powerful lights to attract squid.  Taiwan's main island of Formosa has the 90-mile-wide Taiwan Strait as a buffer against China, open sea triple the width of the English Channel, upon which invasion forces may be resisted.

Taiwan consists of many islands besides Formosa, and these smaller islands closer to China have been the hot points in previous episodes of violence.  The Dachen Islands were conquered by China in 1955, the ROC garrison having been evacuated by a massive US air- and sea-lift and larger conflict averted by the US 7th Fleet in the Taiwan Strait.  After tensions flared again in 1958, artillery duels between China and ROC forces on Jinmen and Mazu (Matsu) archipeligos continued for twenty years!  Today it is these very islands of Matsu that the Chinese squid fleets, laden with lights and maritime militia, are laying siege to.   

Last year The Guardian printed an excellent series on Chinese fishing fleets off the Pacific coasts of South America, even embedding journalists on an offshore patrol vessel of the Peruvian Navy.  Peru (conservatively governed at the time) was fighting a losing battle against the militarized tactics of fishing fleets.  The Guardian documented replenishment-at-sea and underway-offloading of catches, ships with AIS transponders turned off, and flight/escape of vessels pursued by the Peruvian authorities.  Also documented are use of "flags of convenience" and heavy support/replenishment ships hidden in the hundreds-strong armadas (which in the case of the Matsu Islands could include ferryboats filled with tanks and military vehicles). The small South American nation of Ecuador is the possessor of the distant and biodiverse Galapogos Islands, where a 340-ship fishing fleet arrived from China in 2020 to fish and probe Ecuadorian territorial waters.  Aside from humanitarian abuses of shanghaied sailors, the presence of official and acknowledged maritime militia on these fleets trained and sworn to "be always ready to join the armed forces to take part in war, resist aggression and defend the motherland" is a most disturbing military threat.  These fleets do enormous damage to the environment and global fish stocks, but some fish hardly ever or not at all, raising significant questions as to what their paramilitary crews are doing so long at anchor in such diverse parts of the world.

Perhaps Masefield's "Gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking" is today a GREY WAR phase of initial hostilities by Red China upon the whole world!  These questions were raised (in the Spanish media, at least) in 2016 when an Argentine offshore patrol vessel SUNK a Chinese factory fishing ship, the 8,000 ton Lu Yan Yuan Yu No. 10.  This ship was illegally flying the Argentine flag, attempted to flee when confronted, and then attempted to ram the much smaller (1,000-ton) patrol vessel.  After the sinking, the vessel's crew was rescued and brought to Buenos Aires for prosecution, eliciting a furious response from the Chinese consulate.  A year later a suspicious "accident" occurred: The ARA San Juan submarine was proceeding to port on the surface (after having reported problems) and mysteriously EXPLODED on the edge of the 20,000 foot Atlantic abyss.  It is my belief that a Chinese submarine sank the ARA San Juan with all hands to intimidate Argentina's conservative government.  China, along with Dominion voting technology and Venezuelan agents, has been credibly accused by Sidney Powell of ousting that conservative government in a stolen election, causing immediate currency collapse, brutal quarantine lockdowns, and other suspicious explosions.  At present, Peru has switched to a leftist government and Chile is only weeks away from elections.  The ruling party of Sebastian Piñera (the father of the 12-year-long conservative rise in Latin America) cannot run again consecutively and the courts and electoral mechanism appear leftist-controlled.  Without a deliberate act by the military to resist Chinese influence (which has happened before under General Agosto Pinochet), Chile will likely be lost.  The Western World is tangled in the tentacles of China's new tactic, and must wage open war before it is totally suffocated.