(ECNS)--China foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian slammed Pompeo and other U.S. politicians for accusing Chinese fishing boats of disabling tracking systems, leaving marine debris and over-fishing near Galapagos Islands, saying all Chinese fishing vessels are operating in accordance with the law, and that China-Ecuador relations would not be disturbed or undermined by any third party.
The remarks of FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian ran as follows.
China News Service: Recently Pompeo and other U.S. politicians are "very concerned" about Chinese fishing boats' activities on the high seas near the Galapagos Islands, accusing them of disabling tracking systems, leaving marine debris and over-fishing. Do you have a comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The remarks of Pompeo disregard facts and confuse right and wrong. It was a vicious attempt to mislead the public and sow discord between China and other friendly countries.
The fact is, the high seas of the southeast Pacific Ocean are traditional fishing grounds for various countries. In addition to China, fishing vessels from other countries are also operating in the region. As a responsible major country in fishing, China has always attached great importance to the protection of the marine environment and resources, and has exercised the strictest management and control measures over fishing vessels operating overseas. It has been verified that all Chinese fishing vessels are operating normally in accordance with law, using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) recognized by the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), which reports the position every hour. They haven't entered the exclusive economic zones of littoral countries, and have disposed ship waste in accordance with relevant regulations. There is not a single Chinese fishing vessel on the list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels published by the relevant RFMOs. To conserve fishery resources, on June 1 this year, China announced that starting this year, it would implement voluntary fishing moratorium on some high seas in the southwest Atlantic from July to September and in the southeast Pacific from September to November each year. The move has been recognized by neighboring countries including Ecuador and relevant RFMOs.
Over some time, China and Ecuador have maintained close communication on fishery cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect and friendly consultation. We have agreed to establish a communication and liaison mechanism, enhance information sharing, dispel misunderstanding in a timely manner, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and jointly maintain the order of fisheries production and the marine environment in relevant waters. China-Ecuador relations will not be disturbed or undermined by any third party.
We strongly urge U.S. officials to stop fabricating rumors, spreading disinformation and sowing discord among countries, otherwise they will only invite humiliation and further erode their image.