THE CHINA SEAS OLDEST COAST GUARD IS PUSHING BACK ON THE NEWEST AND BIGGEST, THE DRAGON'S COAST GUARD
The President troops the line during the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Philippine Coast Gaurd
EDITORIAL NOTE: January 30, 2015 To the best of our knowledge today the former Hamilton Class cutter obtained from the U.S. has been operational for quite some time. We believe the TAPAGEUSE has been renamed, recommissioned and placed in service. The 10 multi-service vessels from Japan we believe are still entering service one at a time as we write today. If anyone has better information please let us know in the comment's section.
In addition to acquiring a Hamilton Class National Security Cutter from the U.S. Coast Guard recently The Philippine Coast Guard has been on a buying spree. In order to beef up the force for sovereignty patrols designed to hold the Chinese Coast Guard at bay as China tries to enforce its claim to the offshore islands of the Philippines. The Philippine Coast Guard has announced that it will purchase the French LA TAPAGEUSE a 180 foot (54.8 meter), 26 year old navy patrol boat armed with two cannon and two machine guns.This is probably the first of several French surplus naval vessels the Philippine Coast Guard will buy. Marine surveyors estimate that the TAPAGEUSE has about twenty years of service life left and at roughly $7.97 million is a bargain for the capability it offers compared to a new build. The Philippine Coast Guard is also set to obtain 10 multi- service vessels from Japan. All of these known acquisitions in progress will be in active service by 2015.
.The Philippines is dealing with an increasingly belligerent China that is pressing territorial claims virtually up to the Philippine China sea beaches. The Philippines has internationally recognized territorial sea control out 12 miles from those beaches, and an internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone extending in some places out 200 miles from those beaches and including most of the Spratly Islands. China is taking advantage of Philippine Coast Guard weakness and patrolling the islands claiming that they exercise "effective control" of the area , allowing their nationals to fish, presenting themselves as the "law" in the region to foreign flag vessels on "innocent passage" through the island waters. The outermost islands are about 930 miles from the nearest point of the Chinese mainland and the same islands are only about 140 miles from the Philippines. China has occupied and fortified one of the larger outer islands already in a bald faced land grab.
The Philippines is building up its naval and coast guard forces and has been encouraging Japan which also has territorial disputes with China to build up its naval forces. Japan brutally occupied the Philippines during World War II. That the Philippines would encourage the militarization of Japan indicates how strong their fear of China is and yet how strong their resolve to resist is.
The United States has defense treaties with both Japan and the Philippines. Last year China seized Scarborough Shoal just 140 miles from Luzon. China maintains a near constant naval presence near Manila controlled St. Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. The situation is tense, but not as tense as it is going to be once the Philippines have completed their naval/coast guard build up to a point that they feel they can really meet the Chines challenge to their Exclusive Economic Zone. Despite China's overwhelming superiority in ship numbers,a properly configured force could well make it too hot for the PLAN and the Chinese Coast Guard to try and hold islands and shallow water areas at such a distance from their shore. The United States might not be drawn into the initial naval contest. But China has the military capability to leapfrog over the disputed islands and strike the Philippine homeland and that will mean war with the United States or our final retreat from the world. Given our insistence on weakening our military as the chief means of balancing the budget, China may be banking on just that to complete the other half of its naval strategy which is to push the U.S. Fleet back to Pearl Harbor and keep it bottled up there unable to maneuver farther west in the Pacific, pulling the Philippines and Japan into the Chinese dominated "Chinese/ Japanese Co-prosperity sphere. Wake up America.
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