10:49 GMT21 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday that the United States finds reports of several hundred Chinese vessels near the Galapagos Islands disabling tracking systems and leaving marine debris to be very concerning.

    "Reports of 300+ Chinese vessels near the Galapagos disabling tracking systems, changing ship names, and leaving marine debris are deeply troubling," Pompeo said via Twitter.

    ​"We again call on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to be transparent and enforce its own zero-tolerance  policy on illegal fishing."

    The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said at the beginning of August that China has agreed to observe a temporary fishing moratorium off the coast of the Galapagos Islands.

    The Chinese authorities have expressed willingness for vessels to be subject to checks by Ecuadorian officials and bilateral consultations will continue over the coming weeks and months as Beijing has said it stands fully opposed to all illegal fishing, the Foreign Ministry said.

    Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos had warned in late July that Ecuador was ready to take action to protect the country’s marine rights following media reports that several Chinese vessels were spotted off the coast of the Galapagos Islands.

    A fleet of some 260 Chinese vessels was identified near the Galapagos Islands, although the ships are believed to have remained in international waters, Ecuador's El Universo reported.

    Tags:
    Galapagos Islands, vessels, China, Mike Pompeo, U.S
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