September 20, 2012

So, What About Those Fishing Boats

The Chinese media is claiming that the fishing fleet that left for the Senkaku Islands mentioned in this post was apocryphal.

Information that a large number of Chinese fishing boats are heading for the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture is false, the chief of a Japan Coast Guard office in the southern prefecture said Tuesday.


It seems that a fishing season opened which much like the Alaska season involves a mad dash to sea, that this happened in the middle of the current crisis was run with by the press.

Note that this is a Chinese newspaper and I'm not hearing this anywhere else yet so take with adequate salt.

Indeed, Asahi Shinbun is reporting that the Chinese are keeping several patrol boats and several hundred fishing boats "in the vicinity of" the Senkakus. This means that they are not there now, possibly over the horizon, but could rush the islands at any time.

A senior official of the Japan Coast Guard said the agency was already braced for a more aggressive maritime offensive from China, considering the moves it has recently taken.

"We need to deal with it,” the official said.

The primary duty of fishery monitoring ships is to prevent illegal operations by fishing boats.

But a source close to the Japan Coast Guard said the reality is different. The source said Chinese fishing boats tend to move upon the instructions of a monitoring ship.

"With a single command, fishing boats could head southward (to the Senkakus) all at once,” the source said.

The Japan Coast Guard has assembled 50 patrol boats around the Senkaku Islands in case Chinese government ships or fishing boats enter Japanese territorial waters. Many of the vessels have been sent by regional coast guard headquarters across the country.



So...

If there's a war, the first battle will be fought by the respective countries Coast Guards.

This could turn into a HELL of a real mess real quick.

The JCG is a crackerjack service but coping with hoards of civilians who cannot be harmed but must not be allowed to land while dealing with warships is a thorny problem.

One dead fisherman and China might claim causus belli.

This is a dreadful situation that could spin completely out of control either by an error or a simple boating accident.

As for China's domestic situation, nothing I'm hearing is good.

Ampotan has more.

Then there is this.

The secret of brinkmanship is to stop short of the brink. The danger is that the ground can shift as one stands on the edge. That happened one August 98 years ago and did not work out well for anyone involved.

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