Beijing’s ‘White Hull’ Challenge in the South China Sea

January 13, 2016 Topic: Security Region: Asia Tags: ChinaCoast GuardSouth China SeaNavy

Beijing’s ‘White Hull’ Challenge in the South China Sea

China is expanding its coast guard with new, massive ships.

Just as Beijing justified using ‘white hulls’ to counter the Philippine ‘grey hull’ enforcement in the Scarborough Shoal back in April 2012, China may make use of this ship as a tactical symbol against American warships. After all, the Chinese Communist Party’s daily in July 2015 boasted about how the ship “has the power to smash into a vessel weighing more than 20,000 tons and will not cause any damage to itself when confronting a vessel weighing under 9000 tons. It can also destroy a 5,000 ton ship and sink it to the sea floor.” Seen in this light, Haijing 3901 becomes a concern looming over the stability of the South China Sea.

Koh Swee Lean Collin is associate research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies based in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He can be reached at [email protected].

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Arrorro.