14 February 2018
Japan has lodged a formal protest with China over the entry of three Chinese coastguard ships into Japanese territorial waters in the East China Sea.
Concerns over conflicts involving coastguard vessels are growing as players in the region expand their coastguard fleets and presence.
US coastguard commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft was quoted by defence industry news service IHS Janes as saying that it planned to deploy a patrol boat to the Western Pacific in the coming year as a sign of US commitment to the region.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the US cutter would not just be deployed to the East China Sea but also to Southeast Asia and the South China Sea.
“I believe the US government is seriously considering stepping up its countermeasures – either unilaterally or in conjunction with allies and partners – against China’s maritime ‘grey zone’ challenge,” Koh said, referring to the use of non-military forces to realise military objectives such as island seizures. “The East China Sea is an ideal avenue to build up this capacity.”
He said the US coastguard would be able to encourage other maritime law enforcement agencies to work together to deal with maritime security challenges.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 14/02/2018