China describes Coast Guard patrol vessels in the western Pacific as “destabilizing and harmful” operations in the region, the country’s top security adviser said Friday.
The U.S. Coast Guard is “significantly improving fast response cutters in the western Pacific,” White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement.
The statement, which described the United States as a Pacific power, said China’s “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and harassment of ships operating in other countries’ special economic zones in the Indo-Pacific threaten our sovereignty, as well as our sovereignty.” It threatens our Pacific neighbors and regional stability. “
It said U.S. efforts, including the Coast Guard, were “crucial to dealing with these destabilizing and malicious actions.”
The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the statement, which came ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Asia.
Pompeo chaired a meeting called the Quad in Tokyo earlier this month. Washington hopes that the group of America, Japan, India and Australia will act as a force against China’s growing presence and widespread maritime claims in the region, including almost all of the South China Sea.
On Sunday, Pompeo will embark on a five-day tour of India – where he will be accompanied by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper – and will then proceed to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia. Maritime security and “free and open Indo-Pacific” will be high on the agenda, the State Department said.
In July, Esper denounced the “list of bad behavior” in the South China Sea, accusing the Chinese military of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat, harassing Malaysian oil and gas vessels and taking Chinese fishing ships into Indonesia’s special economic zone. .
O’Brien said the Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was also studying whether to keep its patrol vessels permanently in the American Samoa area of the South Pacific.
Last month, Indonesia protested after its natural Coast Guard ships sailed into its special economic zone between its specialized territorial waters and international waters, and the state claimed special rights to develop natural resources here.
China claims the entire South China Sea as its own. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines also mentioned parts of the sea close to their shores.
The U.S. Navy regularly conducts “freedom of navigation” operations in disputed waters – angered China, which has developed military bases on the islands and islands.