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China boosts surveillance to protect maritime rights

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 2, 2011
China is stepping up its maritime surveillance by hiring more staff and increasing the number of inspection ships, state media said Monday, amid deep-sea territorial disputes with neighbouring nations.

China Marine Surveillance, the country's ocean monitoring agency, will hire more than 1,000 people this year, raising staff numbers to "at least 10,000", the official China Daily said, citing CMS deputy director Sun Shuxian.

It will also buy 36 inspection ships over the next five years, the newspaper said. China currently has about 300 marine surveillance ships, it said.

Sun said China would "carry out regular sea patrols more frequently to strengthen law enforcement in Chinese-related waters to safeguard the country's marine rights in 2011".

"New equipment will be installed on part of the inspection fleet to improve law enforcement capacity," he added.

China has been embroiled in a bitter row with Japan over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea -- known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

China also insists that it has complete sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have competing claims.

There is growing concern over China's military expansion, which has gone hand-in-hand with breakneck economic growth.

US commanders have made it clear they are watching China's military build-up, particularly its naval reach into the South China Sea.

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