The Pacific nation of Palau detained a Chinese ship and its crew after they were found allegedly poaching sea cucumbers from protected waters in the Paluan archipelago.
According to the Paluan authorities from the Department of Marine Law and Enforcement, the main vessel, six smaller boats, and its 28 person crew were intercepted at Helen Reef and escorted back to the main island of Koror.
Palau has not yet decided if they will charge the crew, with Remengesau saying that the government is still discussing the issue.
“We don’t want them any longer than necessary in Palau,” Remengesau said. “It’s unlawful entry. We may care about COVID and the spread of COVID, but we can’t just let people do whatever they want, and disguise illegal activity.”
A spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, said on Dec. 15 that the Chinese regime was aware of the situation and that it asks overseas Chinese citizens and companies to comply with the laws of other nations.
Palau and China have a tenuous diplomatic relationship after the CCP banned Chinese tour operators from selling packages to travel to the island nation in 2017 when Palau reportedly refused to drop its diplomatic ties to Taiwan.
There are only four Pacific nations that continue to have diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The Chinese regime believes Taiwan to be a renegade province that should be under Beijing’s control.
U.S. Pacific General Kenneth Wilsbach welcomed the request, reportedly saying that the air force was “absolutely looking forward” to expanding the United States’ military presence in Palau.