U.S. col­lab­o­rates with China on Pa­cific mar­itime net­work

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One - By Richard Hal­lo­ran

HONOLULU — The United States and five other coun­tries, in­clud­ing China and Rus­sia, are qui­etly de­vel­op­ing a mar­itime net­work to bat­tle drugs, hu­man traf­fick­ing and poach­ing fish­er­men.

One ex­er­cise in­volves the U.S. Coast Guard cut­ter Boutwell, which re­cently sailed from Honolulu to Shang­hai to pick up a Chi­nese law-en­force­ment of­fi­cer. It will then sail on to the north­west­ern Pa­cific to look for ves­sels en­gaged in il­le­gal fish­ing.

Dur­ing the pa­trol, the ship is sched­uled to call at Yoko­suka, Ja­pan, and Petropavlovsk, Rus­sia.

Boutwell’s voy­age re­flects what a Coast Guard of­fi­cer called “a de- velop­ing net­work for mar­itime se­cu­rity” that in­cludes the U.S., Canada, China, Ja­pan, South Korea and Rus­sia.

With­out much fan­fare, coast guards and other law-en­force­ment agen­cies have been work­ing to­gether.

Be­sides hav­ing ship rid­ers on U.S. cut­ters, Chi­nese pa­trol boats have ex­er­cised with U.S. cut­ters and he­li­copters, while Rus­sian and Ja­panese coast guards have co­or­di­nated op­er­a­tions against North Pa­cific drift­net­ters who vi­o­late in­ter­na­tional agree­ments.

A Ja­panese coast guard of­fi­cer said they had cap­tured a ves­sel smug­gling drugs be­cause a Chi­nese crew had ra­dioed ahead a de­scrip­tion of the ves­sel that had out­run them.

Sev­eral weeks ago, of­fi­cers from the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice, China’s Border Con­trol De­par tment, Ja­pan’s Coast Guard and South Korea’s Coast Guard gath­ered at the Nor th Pa­cific Coast Guard Fo­rum in Honolulu to dis­cuss “best prac­tices.”

The Rus­sians didn’t come but are to host an up­com­ing high­level meet­ing in St. Petersburg.

High on the agenda were dif­fer­ences in le­gal sys­tems, which the of­fi­cers agreed were per­haps the big­gest ob­sta­cle to work­ing to­gether, be­cause each na­tion gives dif­fer­ent author­ity to its of­fi­cers.

China’s le­gal sys­tem tends to be dra­co­nian. Ja­pan’s is lay­ered with Ger­man and then U.S. con­cepts. Korea’s le­gal sys­tem, im­posed by Ja­pan’s oc­cu­pa­tion of 1910-1945, is in­fused with an­cient Con­fu­cian­ism.

On the other hand, an ex­change of ideas on how to find hid­den com­part­ments went eas­ily.

“We know how to mea­sure rather pre­cisely,” said a U.S. of­fi­cer. “We can make sure they can’t put drugs in a se­cret place.”

Much was the same in swap­ping ideas on coun­ter­drug op­er­a­tions, on train­ing and cer­ti­fy­ing peo­ple to board ships sus­pected of wrong­do­ing, and on when the use of force was per­mis­si­ble.

A com­put­er­ized U.S. in­for­ma­tion sys­tem to track ves­sels on the high seas drew con­sid­er­able in­ter­est from the Asian par­tic­i­pants.

Even so, the coast guards, all on tight bud­gets, have far to go and mar­itime re­la­tions among the six na­tions can some­times be tense.

Ja­panese mil­i­tar y an­a­lyst Kazuhisa Ogawa was quoted in a Tokyo news­pa­per as say­ing: “Ja­pan, as a sea­far­ing na­tion, does not have an ad­e­quate mar­itime mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.”

Some­how, a ship from Van­cou­ver, Canada, man­aged to slip into the port of Osaka, Ja­pan, with 640 kilo­grams of il­licit drugs hid­den in a shipment of lum­ber.

Cus­toms of­fi­cials, sus­pect­ing some­thing amiss, X-rayed the lum­ber to find a record cache. They ar­rested four Chi­nese, who con­tended they only came to pick up the lum­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.