China’s Best Weapon in Maritime Disputes, its Coast Guard

2016-02-06T13:13:23Z (GMT) by Robert Potter
In signaling its intent in the South and East China Seas, China faces a challenge of how to calibrate its response. Sending the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) into direct confrontation with rivals would be interpreted as bellicoseThe use of civilian ships would not send a strong enough signal of sovereignty. Sitting between these two is the Chinese Coast Guard which when deployed to a space reinforces sovereign claims while also appearing less belligerent than the use of PLAN ships. The development and use of this force has been fundamental to China’s success in keeping tensions at a minimum while asserting claims to territory.