tirsdag 23. november 2021

China uses maritime militia to assert claim on South China Sea

There may be as many as 300 vessels from China’s maritime militia patrolling the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea at any one time as Beijing continues to stake its controversial claim on the disputed waters, according to new research from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in the United States.

Composed of purpose-built militia vessels and commercial fishing fleets, China’s maritime militia has “exploded” in tandem with its increasingly assertive claim to almost the entire sea, CSIS said in the report, which was published on Thursday in Washington, DC. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the South China Sea where China has been building artificial islands with airstrips, sheltered ports and other military infrastructure.

China’s maritime militia dates back to coastal defence carried out during the 1950s. Since China seized the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in the 1970s, the militia, supported by government subsidies for fuel, construction and repairs, according to CSIS, has grown in size and scope and become instrumental in helping Beijing assert its territorial and maritime claims.