How China is Weaponizing its Fishing Fleet
China denies that its 'maritime militia' exists, but analysts say a quick study of the alleged militia's so-called 'fishing boats' show that they form an integral part of China's military actions.
WHITSUN REEF, SOUTH CHINA SEA — CNN reports that analysts are calling out China's secret maritime militia as it gets increasingly aggressive in its efforts to push the fishing fleets of other Asian nations out of the South China Sea.
China denies that the militia exists, but Western analysts say a quick study of these so-called fishing boats show that they form an integral part of China's military actions.
These boats are often huge by fishing-boat standards and they never seem to catch any fish.
They have automatic weapons aboard and reinforced hulls, making them very dangerous at close range.
With top speeds of around 18 to 22 knots, they are also faster than 90% of the world's fishing boats.
Analysts say China is using these weaponized boats to protect large flotillas of normal Chinese fishing boats.
In this way, they can quickly bring hundreds of Chinese fishing boats to any disputed island; a flotilla so large that it can't be challenged without triggering a military confrontation.
Last month, more than 200 Chinese fishing boats crowded around Whitsun Reef for weeks.
Whitsun Reef is a major fishing ground and part of the Philippines' territorial waters.
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