A new survey of Chinese security policy has reported increased cooperation between surveillance units of the People's Liberation Army and civilian government agencies with the aim of consolidating Beijing's maritime interests.
The assertion is made in "China Security Report 2012," a briefing paper released Dec. 19 by the Japanese Defense Ministry's National Institute for Defense Studies.
"Cooperation for protecting China's maritime interests between the PLA and maritime law enforcement agencies is likely to strengthen, not only in the South China Sea but also in the East China Sea," it said, naming the maritime region where the disputed Senkaku Islands are located.
The report cited the example of the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, whose sovereignty is claimed by both China and the Philippines. China calls it Huangyan Island.
It said that in early April, "Haijian" patrol vessels of China Marine Surveillance, an agency of the government's State Oceanic Administration, and "Yuzheng" surveillance vessels of the Ministry of Agriculture's Fishery Law Enforcement Command, deployed near the island in apparent preparation for a standoff.
Later that month, the People's Liberation Army expressed readiness to take part. It and the two civilian agencies "worked out a united front" and in June "pressured the Philippines into withdrawing its surveillance ships from the waters," the report said.
The report furthermore noted that joint exercises took place in October in the East China Sea between the State Oceanic Administration and the Fishery Law Enforcement Command—and the Chinese navy.
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