China's coast guard conducts South China Sea drills to sharpen skills in 'complex' waters

Global Times
Yao Jianing

Exercise to sharpen fleet’s law enforcement ability

The China Coast Guard (CCG) is conducting a seven-day cruising drill in the South China Sea to sharpen its fleet's law-enforcement capability in "strange and complex" waters in the region.

"South China Sea 2018" is being conducted by the coast guard in South China's Guangdong Province, which is responsible for enforcing the law in the South China Sea, reported on Wednesday.

The training, including nautical chart work, coast-harbor joint exercises and cruising, are aimed at improving reaction time and operating skills for the ship commanders and sailors in the complex and strange sea areas, the report said.

The exercises are also related to the summer fishing moratorium, comprehensive law-enforcement and anti-gang operations, and the cruise covered the 3,000-kilometer shoreline of China's territory.

"The CCG is an essential force and a symbol of China's sovereignty in the region. Compared to the Chinese navy, the coast guard's mission is more complicated and heavier to some extent. The navy normally deals with military missions, while the coast guard is responsible for all non-military missions," said Liu Feng, a Hainan-based expert on the South China Sea.

The coast guard's missions are complicated, including chasing smugglers and drug dealers, expelling foreign civilian ships which enter Chinese territory illegally, and providing assistance and services to civilian ships crossing the region, Liu said. "China's coast guard is the most powerful and important law-enforcer in the South China Sea, who provides great deterrence to criminals in the region."

In 2017, The CCG participated in 272 maritime rescue operations, saving 62 ships and 425 people, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The coast guard said it had also conducted patrols to safeguard China's maritime rights, with total voyages reaching nearly 1 million nautical miles in 2017.

The patrols covered the waters under China's jurisdiction as well as the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, according to the coast guard, under the State Oceanic Administration.

Formed in 2013, the coast guard has safeguarded China's maritime safety and stability, and helped maintain the country's territorial sovereignty.

The CCG also cooperated with counterparts from other countries, including the Philippines and Indonesia, in 2016, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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