China improves military-govt coordination to secure maritime interests
China has improved coordination between its military and government bodies that enforce laws to secure its maritime interests, the Defense Ministry's think tank has said in a report.
The report by the National Institute for Defense Studies noted 'a clear pattern of collaboration' between the People's Liberation Army and Chinese Government departments in the field of maritime security, referring to joint drills and exercises between the PLA and maritime law enforcement agencies.
According to the Japan Times, the institute's 2012 China Security Report said the Chinese military is likely to be deployed to missions on the sea to protect China's rights in support of the maritime law-enforcement agencies if neighboring countries send military forces to disputed areas.
"Thus, the neighboring countries will need to respond with an assumption that the PLA and/or PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) may be brought in," the report warned.
China has been engaged in territorial disputes with countries including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
The NIDS also said the PLA has requested the enactment of an "ocean basic law" to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty as well as security and economic interests.
"The PLA and other maritime-related departments have now taken proactive measures toward drafting an integrated maritime strategy and legislation, which provides momentum to the eventual enactment of the basic law", the report said.
According to the report, the think tank warned that as a result of strengthened interagency coordination, China could take 'more assertive measures' to protect its maritime rights and interests in disputed waters.