China’s new armed Coast Guard
China has unified its coast guard into one organisation as it seeks to bolster its maritime surveillance capabilities following a number of recent territorial disputes.
China bolsters maritime surveillance with new, unified (and armed) Coast Guard
China has unified its coast guard into one organisation as it seeks to bolster its maritime surveillance capabilities following a number of recent territorial disputes with its neighbours. As a result, the newly formed China Coast Guard will allow more ships to be armed.
Under the previous configuration which integrated the functions of a smaller coast guard, maritime surveillance, fisheries law enforcement and the maritime police, these vessels “were not allowed to be equipped with weapons,” according to Yang Mian.
“The new agency will also make our law enforcement more powerful,” Mian said, who is a professor of international relations at the Communication University of China.
The development will be of concern to Japan in particular, who have been in disputes with China over the Senkaku Islands. It may also spur the Philippines to drive forward plans to modernise its armed forces after president Benigno Aquino promised to keep China’s military forces at bay.
Last month China purchased four Zubr-class Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft from the Ukraine in a £3.15 million deal. A spokesman confirmed that the hovercraft were acquired for the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Some analysts conclude that, due to their short range, the LCAC’s could be used for amphibious operations against perceived hostile neighbours, although Chinese officials have dismissed the possibility.
According to various reports the China Coast Guard will have 11 squadrons and more than 16,000 personnel. While China has been playing an increasingly expedient role in anti-piracy maritime surveillance operations recently, many will point to this as being another move to intimidate its neighbours and further cement Beijing’s base of power in the region.
Source: Defence IQ
What do you think the move to unify China’s Coast Guard means for future strategies and conflict in the region? Is it the natural evolution of China’s force structure and maritime surveillance capabilities or a looming shadow of intent?
Learn more about this at the 10th Annual Global MDA: Coastal Surveillance 2013, 12-13 November 2013 in Singapore or email us to let us know your say: