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China vows to beef up maritime security

2013-01-11 09:06 China Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

China vowed on Thursday to beef up maritime patrols and oppose sovereignty infringement by Japan over territorial islands and waters.

Observers said Beijing should further bolster maritime governance to protect lawful rights and interests, and push the adversaries of relevant territorial disputes back to the table for a resolution through bilateral reconciliation.

Beijing will continue to carry out regular patrols over its territorial waters off China's Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea, Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration, said at the administration's annual conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The year 2012 witnessed increased tension in the East China Sea and South China Sea from rival territorial claims.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China is still lagging behind regional maritime players in infrastructure, law enforcement capabilities, patrolling facilities and staff. The Chinese marine surveillance fleet rescued fishermen who were harassed by a Philippine warship in the waters off Huangyan Island in April last year.

Vessels and aircraft have patrolled the territorial waters off the Diaoyu Islands over the past four months after Japan made an illegal "purchase" of part of the islands in September.

"A larger budget and other supports will be dedicated to fishery administration, maritime surveillance and the coast guard to boost China's efforts to become a maritime power," Li Guoqiang said. Maritime security was highlighted in the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which emphasized that the country will become "a maritime power".

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