China fishing fleet defied US in standoff on the high seas

  • In this photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard, guardsmen from the cutter James, seen at background right, conduct a boarding of a fishing vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean, on Aug. 4. During the 10-day patrol for illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, three vessels steamed away. Another turned aggressively 90 degrees toward the James, forcing the American vessel to maneuver to avoid being rammed. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Upshaw/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

  • In this photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard, guardsmen from the cutter James conduct a boarding of a fishing vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean, on Aug. 3. During the 10-day patrol for illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, three vessels steamed away. Another turned aggressively 90 degrees toward the James, forcing the American vessel to maneuver to avoid being rammed. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Upshaw/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

  • In this photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard, guardsmen from the cutter James conduct a boarding of a fishing vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean, on Aug. During the 10-day patrol for illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, three vessels steamed away. Another turned aggressively 90 degrees toward the James, forcing the American vessel to maneuver to avoid being rammed. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Upshaw/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

  • In this photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard, guardsmen from the cutter James conduct a boarding of a fishing vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean, on Aug. 4. During the 10-day patrol for illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, three vessels steamed away. Another turned aggressively 90 degrees toward the James, forcing the American vessel to maneuver to avoid being rammed. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Upshaw/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

This summer, as China fired missiles into the sea off Taiwan to protest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, a much different kind of geopolitical standoff was taking shape in another corner of the Pacific Ocean.