The China Ocean News, published by the State Oceanic
Administration, said the ship would be based on Woody Island, which
China calls Sansha city, on the Paracel Islands.
China will "gradually establish a regular patrol system on Sansha
city to jointly protect the country's maritime interests", the
report added. It will continue to build infrastructure on the island
as well as a "joint platform for sharing maritime security data", it
China is in an increasingly angry dispute with its neighbors over
claims to parts of the potentially oil and gas-rich South China Sea.
China lays claim to almost the whole of the sea, which is
criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes.
It upset the Philippines and the United States this month when rules
went into force demanding fishing boats seek permission to enter
waters under the jurisdiction of China's southern province of
Hainan, an area the provincial government says covers much of the
South China Sea.
Chinese patrols in the South China Sea are generally conducted by
civilian vessels, though China's navy routinely carries out drills
there, including late last year by the country's first aircraft
The newspaper did not say when the patrols would begin, though said
one of their focuses would be on search and rescue operations and
the "speedy, orderly and effective emergency response to sudden
incidents at sea".
Separately, the Beijing Times newspaper said that China would build
the world's largest maritime surveillance vessel, a 10,000-tonne
ship that it said would be larger than an equivalent Japanese ship,
currently the world's largest surveillance vessel.
[to top of second column]
The report did not say when the ship would enter service.
China formally approved the establishment of a military garrison in
Sansha two years ago. Sansha administers the mostly uninhabited
islands in the South China Sea which China claims.
China took full control of the Paracels — a cluster of close to 40
islets, outcrops and reefs — in 1974 after a naval showdown with the
then South Vietnam, and there have been incidents ever since. Taiwan
also claims the Paracels.
Vietnam has accused China of harassing and even opening fire on
fishing boats near the Paracels, charges Beijing has either denied
or defended as a legitimate means of protecting its sovereignty.
Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines also claim
other parts of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands.
China has a separate dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan;
editing by Nick Macfie)
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