Activities of the Claimants


China to deploy world's largest coast guard ship next year


On December 13th a Chinese netizen uploaded a picture of the ship at the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard, which shows that the country's first coast guard ship to break the 10,000 ton displacement mark is already in water and the paintwork is almost complete. The vessel, the Haijing 2901, is bigger than any of the Japan Coast Guard ships, making it the biggest coast guard ship in the world. The ship will be deployed in spring next year at the earliest, according to reports. 

New observation system to boost maritime power

China is to set up an offshore observation network by 2020 to cope with disasters, guarantee development of the coastal economy and protect the country's maritime interests. A guideline released by the State Oceanic Administration said the network - covering coastal waters, the high seas and polar waters - will be fundamental for China to strengthen its maritime power. Chen Zhi, an official at the administration's Disaster Prevention and Reduction Department, said, "Offshore observation capacity has been lagging behind the country's development in terms of maritime observation methods, infrastructure and technical support." The guideline, released on December 17th, sets out major task to be completed before 2020, such as building radar stations, tsunami warning observation stations and undersea observation and satellite operations.

China reveals ray gun similar to microwave pain weapon developed by US government

China has developed a long-range pain gun that works by shooting microwaves into people’s bodies and heating up water under their skin, according to reports, and might plan to fit it onto its ships or for crowd control. The gun, known as a Poly WB-1, works by projecting a man-sized milimetre beam onto the body, which heats water molecules just under the skin and causes intense pain. The gun is non-lethal and doesn’t seem to cause lasting harm — a point the US government tried to make repeatedly amid criticism of a similar weapon it developed, which it demonstrated by shooting a reporter with one.

The Philippines

Philippines to get frigates, gunboats, helicopters as tension simmers

The Philippines aims to buy two frigates, two helicopters and three gunboats for deployment in the South China Sea a Philippine navy officer said on December 17th. "The events in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)actually gave some urgency on the acquisition," Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, head of the Philippine Navy's weapons system, told reporters. The Philippines has embarked on a 15-year, 90 billion peso ($2 billion) modernization program to improve its capability to defend its maritime borders. The procurement list announced on December 17th will be bought with 39 billon pesos from that budget. The government aimed to sign contracts early next year for the new warships, Taccad said on board the navy's most powerful warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a former U.S. coastguard cutter.


Sea’s importance in Indonesia’s future: President

The sea will play an increasingly important role in the future of Indonesia, and so, the government will take various steps to enforce its maritime sovereignty, according to President of Indonesia Joko Widodo.  "We have to ensure that our future is the sea. Therefore, we have to enforce maritime sovereignty in accordance with the concept of global maritime axis," Indonesia’s News Agency Antara quoted President Widodo at the commemoration of National Integrity Day on December 15th as saying. 

Navy to sink two more illegal fishing boats

Despite complaints from neighboring countries, Indonesia is set to continue sinking foreign ships caught fishing illegally in its territorial waters. The Indonesian Navy was scheduled to sink two more ships on December 21st at Laha, Teluk Ambon, Maluku, Navy spokesman Commodore Manahan Simorangkir said.  “The ships have gone through legal procedures at the court in Ambon and their owners were found guilty of stealing fish from Indonesian waters. We must sink these ships so that other foreign ships will think twice before fishing illegally in our territory,” Manahan told The Jakarta Post on December 20th. The ships, the Century IV and Century VII, were caught on December 7th near the sea border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, south of Merauke. 


India to supply Naval vessels to Vietnam

India will supply Naval vessels to Vietnam. These will be specialised aluminium hull fast patrol boats. The Kolkatta-based Garden Reach Ship Engineering (GRSE) has submitted technical bids to Vietnam. Giving this information, Rear Admiral AK Verma (retd) Chairman and Managing Director of GRSE said in New Delhi on December 18th each of these ships will be 37 metres in length and 13 metres smaller than Indian warships of the same class. Vietnam wants 7-8 such ships. India, as part of its ‘Act East’ policy, had recently extended a US $100-million credit line for defence equipment and these ships will be under the same credit line.

Regional Snapshots

Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issues new press release about Philippine case


The tribunal handling the Philippines’ historic arbitration case on the South China Sea ordered Manila to submit written comments to support its claims against China. The Hague-based tribunal gave the Philippines until March 15th, 2015, to file a “supplemental written submission.” China in turn has until June 16th, 2015, to respond to the written comments. “The Arbitral Tribunal issued with its Procedural Order No. 3 a ‘Request for Further Written Argument by the Philippines Pursuant to Article 25(2) of the Rules of Procedure’ addressing specific issues relating to both the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal and to the merits of the Parties’ dispute,” said the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in a press release on December 17th.

Chinese FM discusses ties with U.S. counterpart

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on December 21st had a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry on issues including China-U.S. relations. The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama last month has achieved significant and fruitful results, providing fresh impetus to the construction of new type of major-country relationship between the two countries, Wang said. He expressed the hope that the two sides could earnestly implement the consensus reached between the Chinese and U.S. presidents, strengthening exchanges, coordination and cooperation, and respecting each other's core interests and major concerns, so as to achieve greater development in bilateral ties.

U.S. to Continue Push for Stronger Military Ties With China

The next commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific said December 18th he wouldn’t deviate from his predecessor’s strategy of seeking stronger military ties with China and other countries in the region despite conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea. Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who currently commands U.S. Navy forces in the Pacific and was confirmed last week as the next chief of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, said China has been increasing tensions in the South China Sea in recent years, pushing several of the region’s countries to seek the U.S. as their security ally. “I think China’s actions are making countries out here—some of them—look to the U.S. as their security partner of choice, not China,” Adm. Harris said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He said his tactics “won’t differ at all with Adm. [Samuel] Locklear. I support what he is doing completely and I don’t think you’ll see any change.”

East Sea (South China Sea) Studies