China Coast Guard ship Haijing 12101 (R) expels a Vietnamese marine surveillance ship from a contested area in the South China Sea, May 4, 2014.
China’s growing use of non-conventional means to assert control over the South China Sea is raising concerns among neighboring countries and regional military planners.
Analysts say that in “front line” flash points in the vast waterway, Beijing is deploying coast guard ships and armed fishing vessels instead of its regular navy vessels.
China claims sovereignty over more than 80 percent of the islands and other land features in the South China Sea and rejects conflicting claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Taiwan’s claims largely overlap with China’s.
China’s increased use of its coast guard and maritime militia to press its territorial claims may now be adding an element of unpredictability and a higher risk of clashes with other nations’ vessels.
To most people…
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