During a global panic which has hit Ecuador badly, at a time the country was in a painful economic and debt crisis to begin with, China has sent hundreds of fishing vessels towards Ecuador’s protected and ecologically rich Galapagos Islands putting a lot of endangered species at risk.
China did this in 2017 as well when Chinese vessels sailed into Galapagos Marine Reserve with a 300 ton load of mostly sharks including the endangered hammerhead.
Now in 2020, over 260 Chinese fishing ships have been spotted in waters nearing the Galapagos Islands according to Ecuadorian navy officials.
“We are on alert, conducting surveillance, patrolling to avoid an incident such as what happened in 2017,” Ecuador’s Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin stated this week.
“There is a corridor that is international waters, that’s where the fleet is located,” he went on to say.
The Chinese vessels are only 12 miles away from the area which falls under a protected UNESCO world heritage site.
Ecuadorian officials have blasted the actions of the Chinese vessels as aggressive and threatening to the delicate marine life in the ecologically rich islands.
Ecuador is working to get its exclusive economic zone expanded to within a 350 mile radius of the islands as it wants maximum authority to stop the Chinese vessels. Within Ecuador itself there is enormous anger at China and there are those in the country who want to see a tougher line taken against Beijing’s clear violations of Ecuador’s sovereignty and its attacks on the marine life and environment of the South American country.
China had been making serious geopolitical inroads into Latin America but that is rapidly changing from Chile snubbing China for Japan, China provoking Argentina, Bolsonaro isn’t exactly the best friend of China, and now with what China is doing in Ecuador.
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