U.S. Coast Guard Mulling More Operations near China’s Yellow Sea

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China’s Global Times reported yesterday that the US Coast Guard USCGC is continuing its operations recently in the Yellow Sea and South China Sea, and that it is not alone as China’s Coast Guard 2901 is always watching close by.

The state-run media said the Chinese ship is much larger with displacement of over ten thousand tens, and equipped with the most advanced ammunition. It is of strong endurance, seaworthiness, and resistance to collision.

Earlier USNI News reported that the U.S. Coast Guard is looking at longer deployments to the Western Pacific region following the successful execution of the Operation Aiga deployment to Samoa and American Samoa, as told by its commandant Adm. Karl Schultz.

The operation deployed the Juniper class buoy tender USCGC Walnut (WLB-205) and the Sentinel class fast response cutter USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC-1126) sailing from Hawaii for the deployment.

“We are looking at taking that proof of concept 30-day operation and pushing that probably into a little longer duration in the future,” Schultz said.

The Coast Guard hadn’t determined yet the next area of deployment, but he stated that the Compact of Free Association nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau were the area of interests to the service.

He also stated that the three fast response cutters that will be stationed in Guam in the next two years will bring about more capabilities than the Coast Guard had in the region.

“I think we’re on a trajectory where the geostrategic importance of the Oceania region has not been higher here in decades and it’s a place that the Coast Guard is looking to be part of the whole of government solutions there,” he said.

Schultz said cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam coast guards was strong with a focus on maintenance support to the former USCG Morgenthau (WHEC-722) which was transferred to the Vietnam Coast Guard in 2017 along with 24 Metal Shark patrol boats.

The Coast Guard Commandant also criticized China’s actions in region contrasting it with the U.S cooperation efforts in the region, “In the face of coercive and antagonistic behavior from China in disputed waters, the U.S Coast Guard offers transparent engagement and partnership at both the professional and personal levels.”

In regard to China’s ongoing actions in the South China Sea, he said there was a disconnect between how Beijing has talked about its role in the region versus their actions.

China Coast Guard.

US Vice President Mike Pence said in his policy speech last week:

China’s military action in the region and its approach to its neighbors over the past year has also remained increasingly provocative.

Pence remarked that while China’s leaders stood in the Rose Garden in 2015 and said that its country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands.

And Beijing has stepped up its use of what they call “maritime militia” vessels to regularly menace Filipino and Malaysian sailors and fishermen.  And the Chinese Coast Guard has tried to strong-arm Vietnam from drilling for oil and natural gas off of Vietnam’s own shores.

In the East China Sea, in 2019, our close ally, Japan, is on track to scramble more fighter aircraft sorties in response to Chinese provocations than in any previous year in history.  And China’s Coast Guard has sent ships for more than 60 days in a row into the waters around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan.

By Winnie Troppie

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