The China Coast Guard will be absorbed into the country’s Central Military Commission (CMC), effective July 1, after the transfer of command from the State Oceanic Administration, local media reports.
More than 16,000 personnel and the 135 patrol and cruise vessels of the Chinese maritime law-enforcement force will be at the beck and call of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its command and control, CMC, Asia Times reports. The coast guard will reportedly be integrated into the PLA Navy as an auxiliary branch.
The change will enable the China Coast Guard (CCG) to be more involved in military drills and daily exercises with People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.
People’s Daily revealed that the Coast guard ships would be armed with more powerful small diameter cannons instead of water cannon. Under the leadership of the CMC, ship crews could also be authorized to carry fire arms.
According to Xinhua, the official name of the CCG will be retained for non-military operations including fighting criminal maritime activities, search and rescue, maritime resource protection, fishery management and anti-smuggling patrols.
A coordination mechanism will be established among the CCG, public security bureaus and relevant administrative departments, said Xinhua.