U.S. Coast Guard Board Chinese Fishing Boats Near Kiribati

The United States Coast Guard (USCG), along with officers from the Kiribati Police Maritime Unit, stopped and boarded two Chinese fishing vessels while on patrol for illegal fishing in the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A USCG spokesperson said that no issues were reported during the boardings and that the collaboration illustrates the importance the two countries place on “upholding maritime law and good governance.”

The United States has been making an effort to aid remote nations within the Pacific for fishing purposes, along with more effective monitoring of Chinese activity.

Kiribati has a population of 115,000 and is near Hawaii, with an EEZ of 1.35 million square miles. Washington wants to establish an embassy on the strategically vital island to compete with China’s police existence. Japan also has a satellite tracking station located on one of the country’s islands.

China built an embassy in 2019 after Kiribati severed relations with Taiwan in favor of China. Chinese police also aid local Kiribati law enforcement with community policing and the development of a crime database program.

The President’s Office or the Chinese Embassy did not release any statements regarding the incident.