By Vincent Pisani
The Chinese Coast Guard was formally put under the control of the People’s Armed Police Force last week. This essentially puts the organization under the control of the military, although this particular branch is more in line with a Gendarmerie then a national police force. This move is likely to raise tensions in the region regardless, with several countries actively dealing with border disputes over China’s claims over island territories. It is also worth noting that the Chinese Coast Guard has been receiving older People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels in recent years. Unfortunately; the effects of this transition cannot be fully understood at this time. In the interim it is important to wait and see if the Chinese Coast Guard becomes more aggressive in their enforcement of China’s maritime territorial claims. This will likely be more pronounced for countries with a heavy fishing presence in the South China Sea. Furthermore; it is unclear whether this shift in authority will result in a more aggressive Chinese Coast Guard or if this is an arrangement more in line with the relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy.