Beijing: Amid reports that China is building
its first aircraft carrier to counter growing US presence in the neighbourhood, Chinese navy has added two large sea surveillance ships to its fleet to "better protect" the country`s maritime rights and interests.
The two patrol ships, in the 1,000- and 1,500-tonne
classes, respectively, were added to the North Sea fleet of
the China Maritime Surveillance Force in the eastern coastal
city of Qingdao, state-run Xinhua news agency reported Friday.
"They will be used to crack down on violations of China`s
maritime interests, illegal use of Chinese seawaters and
damages to its sea environment, resources and
infrastructures," Fang Jianmeng, head of the North Sea branch
of the State Oceanic Administration said.
These ships part of 13 new warships being deployed by
China were commissioned amid increasing tensions with Japan
over disputed Diaoyu islands, also called Sankau islands
currently under the control of Japan.
The ships were part of a USD 241-million plan unveiled by
the Government in 1999 to add thirteen 1,000-tonne-plus sea
patrol ships and five patrol helicopters to patrol China`s
The first group of six large patrol ships and two
helicopters joined the China Maritime Surveillance Force under
the State Oceanic Administration in November 2005.
An official of the China Maritime Surveillance Force told
Xinhua that his agency had finished building the second group
of three patrol ships. Three helicopters have been purchased
to be deployed on them.
"The remaining four vessels will be put into use before
June this year. The fleet expansion is taking place as China
is "facing an increasingly heavier burden of safeguarding its
seas rights and interests," the official, Wu said.
"Given the large sea territory, China`s maritime
surveillance force remains weak, even after all 13 patrol
ships join the fleet. They`re far from meeting all of our
demands," he said.