China Is Building a New South China Sea Fleet for its Maritime Militia

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China is building a new South China Sea fishing fleet for its maritime militia in a move that could intensify regional disputes, an expert told a conference at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Wednesday.

China’s maritime militia – one of the more understudied agencies in the exercise of Chinese maritime power – typically uses civilian fishing vessels for a range of missions from rescuing stranded vessels to conducting controversial island landings. While voices in China have long called for their inclusion in activities, this would be the first time that the militia would get its own fishing fleet, a boost for the world’s largest producer and exporter of fish and consumer of seafood.

“It appears that China is building a state-owned fishing fleet for its maritime militia force in the South China Sea,” Zhang Hongzhou, associate research fellow at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told an audience at the two-day conference on Chinese maritime power.

 

Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/china-is-building-a-new-south-china-sea-fleet-for-its-maritime-militia/

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