China to boost sea patrols

Jan 12, 2013- China said Friday it will beef up its maritime patrols and continue conducting regular missions to safeguard its sovereignty in the East and South China Sea.

China Marine Surveillance ships patrol around the Diaoyu Islands. Photo: Xinhua

According to the state-owned China Daily, State Oceanic Administration director Liu Cigui said that the territorial dispute which had escalated in the 2012 prompted them to bolster Beijing’s maritime protection and guard their sovereignty in the region.

He, however, said that China was ready to resolve the dispute through “bilateral reconciliation”.

“Beijing will (also) continue to carry out regular patrols over its territorial waters off China’s Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea,” Liu said, adding that it opposes any infringement on its sovereignty over territorial waters.

In its commentary, the China Daily accused Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam for allegedly causing increased “temperature” in the waters of the East and South China Sea.

“In recent years, countries like Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam have not only lodged unwarranted claims over China’s territorial waters and islands in the East China Sa and the South China Sea but also launched one farce after another to raise the temperature in these waters,” the news website said.

The news website also accused the three countries of trying to enlist support from countries outside the region for their “ill-grounded claims”.

“Their reckless move have brought more risks and challenges to China’s security environment and prompted China to respond and react in timely and effective manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on the other hand, admitted that China still lagged behind regional maritime players in infrastructure, law enforcement capabilities, patrolling facilities and staff, issues that Beijing would address this year.

“A larger budget and other supports will be dedicated to fishery administration, maritime surveillance and the coast guard to boost China’s efforts to become a maritime power,” he said.

During the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, top government officials said that China will become “a maritime power.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on a regular press conference also posted in China Daily said that China’s vessels and aircrafts will continue regular missions to safeguard its sovereignty.

“China’s position and proposition on relevant issues are clear and consistent. China is firm and resolute in defending national territorial sovereignty,” Hong said.

Hong, however, said that China will always maintain that territorial disputes should be properly solved through bilateral negotiations and friendly consultations.

The Philippines and China are locked in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, since Apriol, when Chinese vessels prevented the Coast Guard from arresting Chinese fishermen caught poaching in Panatag Shoal, which lies within Philippine territorial waters.

Japan on the other hand, has a separate row with China over overlapping claims in the Diaoyu Island, which the Japanese calls Senkaku in the East China Sea.

On Thursday, Japan and Philippines conducted a bilateral meeting, which discussed, among others, Tokyo’s plan to loan Manila 10 brand-new coastal boats as part of the country’s upgrade of its maritime capability.