Our Bureau
10:32 AM, May 11, 2015

China is turning its coast guard into the nation's second navy with the introduction of larger and more heavily armed vessels into service, according to US naval intelligence report cited on US military website Strategy Page.

China has commissioned at least 60 warships in the year 2014 and it is likely to continue between 2015 and 2016, according to intelligence report, cited by Want China Times on Monday.  

Under China's naval buildup plan, the PLA Navy will have several aircraft carriers, 26 destroyers, 52 frigates, 20 corvettes, 85 missile armed patrol boats, 56 amphibious vessels, 42 mine warfare ships and about 500 auxiliary craft, of which 10% are large seagoing ships.

Moreover, the nation has combined four of its five maritime police organizations into one unified Coast Guard Bureau unlike before when the country had multiple security organizations. Even though the multiple organizations were created for keeping an eye on each other to ensure obedience to government, it had only brought inefficiency and confusion.

The country made effort for several months to repaint hundreds of maritime security ships. While ships from the coast guard, which is a paramilitary outfit, are installed with heavier armament, others are sea-going vessels designed for maritime policing. The establishment of China's new Coast Guard Bureau reflects the classic tactic of asserting its claims over the disputed South China Sea by avoiding the use of naval vessels.

Dozens of new seagoing warships are being built for the new Coast Guard, and many of the patrol vessels are carrying weapon systems such as missiles and torpedoes. China is also establishing new bases for its Coast Guard Bureau in the over the disputed South China Sea through its new land reclamation program. From the Chinese perspective, it finally has chance to exercise its "traditional rights" over the seas in its vicinity.