Authorities from the Brazilian Navy intend to take advantage of the visit of a high-level delegation from the Chinese Naval Force starting this Thursday (15th) to make appeals against illegal fishing off the Brazilian coast and discuss the advance of power over the South Atlantic.
Chinese are accused of promoting illegal fishing in the ocean that separates South America and Africa, using vessels that leave the African coast especially without tracking.
According to admirals interviewed by the Sheetthe commander of the Navy, Marcos Sampaio Olsen, intends to demonstrate the concern that Brazil has with the crimes committed in the South Atlantic and should ask for support from the Chinese authorities to fight the illicit ones.
In addition to the agenda on illegal fishing, the Brazilian Navy will present to the Chinese a study plan on the presence of countries in the maritime region. The objective, according to reports, is to assess the impacts of naval powers in the South Atlantic and discuss maritime security strategies and regional cooperation.
The main fear of the Brazilian authorities is that the growing interest of global powers in the South Atlantic could pose risks to maritime security, such as a possible increase in crimes in the ocean and the leak of data passed through submarine cables.
Members of the Navy summit assess that, considering conversations prior to the meetings, Beijing is willing to dialogue on the maritime region and act in partnership with the countries of South America. This approximation has intensified since the last decade, when the Chinese Navy started to consider the South Atlantic as a priority exploration area.
Beijing has strengthened ties with countries on the west coast of Africa through visits and military exercises. More recently, Chinese authorities have shown interest in building a naval base in Ushuaia, Argentina, to consolidate their operations in both the South Atlantic and the Arctic.
Earlier this month, representatives of the three Brazilian Armed Forces participated in a symposium in China with senior regional officials. The objective of the event was to “increase bilateral and multilateral military exchanges and cooperation and mutual knowledge between China and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, with the aim of building a community with a common destiny between these countries”, according to the statement. inside the Ministry of Defense to which the Sheet had access.
The Chinese delegation will be led by the secretary of the Navy, Yuan Huazhi. Also part of the group are the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Chinese Navy, Rear Admiral Li Pengcheng, and the Chinese Defense Attaché in Brazil, Brigadier General Zhang Linhong, in addition to five other officers. The Chinese will be received in Brasília by the commander of the Navy, Marcos Sampaio Olsen, and by the Chief of Staff of the Force, Admiral José Augusto Cunha. The group will also visit the Naval War College, in Rio de Janeiro, and will end the tour in Manaus (AM), where it will meet the Command of the 9th Naval District.
According to the Navy, this is a “courtesy visit” by the authorities of the Chinese Force, with no expectation regarding the closing of bilateral agreements. “The delegation’s arrival is the result of an initiative to resume visits at the Defense level, which began in 2019. It only occurs now because it was postponed during the pandemic”, says the note.
A Sheet found out, however, that the meeting was made possible after requests from President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). The confirmation of the agenda was made on a date close to the visit, and the organization was faster than usual, which denotes a rapprochement with Beijing — in April, Lula visited the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.
The Navies’ meeting also takes place amid the dissatisfaction of wings of the Planalto Palace and Itamaraty against the participation of the military in Brazilian diplomacy. At a Senate hearing in May, Olsen also warned of the presence of China and other countries in the South Atlantic and said that “some decision-making bodies” in Brazil “seem to ignore these issues, which are very current.”
The alleged illegal fishing committed by the Chinese has also been the target of complaints by the United States, in yet another chapter in the dispute between the two superpowers.
The Chinese delegation arrives in Brazil three weeks after American General Laura Richardson, from the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces, participated in a series of meetings with Brazilian authorities — among them, the Minister of Defense, José Múcio Monteiro, and commanders Olsen , Tomás Paiva (Army) and Marcelo Damasceno (Air Force).
Richardson made a round of visits to Latin American countries months after speaking about what he considers the “Chinese threat” to the region, with increased cooperation and trade between the countries.