US to base Coast Guard ships in western Pacific to tackle China

US to base Coast Guard ships in western Pacific to tackle China
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne. Source: AFP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the United States will deploy Coast Guard patrol ships in the western Pacific to counter China. Mr O’Brien’s statement on Friday described China’s activities in the region as “destabilizing and malign”.

The US Coast Guard was “strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters … in the western Pacific,” his statement added.

Describing the US as a Pacific power, the top security adviser added that China’s “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors and endangers regional stability”.

It said US efforts were “critical to countering these destabilizing and malign actions.”

The statement came just ahead of a planned visit to Asia by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Coast Guard did not immediately respond about the statement.

Mike Pompeo led a meeting of the so-called Quad in Japan’s capital Tokyo this month. Trump administration hopes the grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia can act as a bulwark against China’s growing assertiveness and extensive maritime claims in the region, including to nearly all of the South China Sea.

Pompeo will begin a five-day tour of India on Sunday – where he will be accompanied by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper – and then he will continue on to Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The State Department said maritime security and a “free and open Indo-Pacific” will be high on the agenda.

You may read: Joe Biden seeks to clarify remark on ending oil