China is reporting they will combine assets of four separate maritime law enforcement agencies to form a new Coast Guard.
The new agency will combine the China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), Fisheries Law Enforcement Command (FLEC), the anti-smuggling force of the General Administration of Customs, and their “Coast Guard” (aka Maritime Police in Chinese).
Ironically from the US point of view, SAR is not one of the agency’s responsibilities as the Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) of the Ministry of Transport will remain separate.
The Economist notes, “Experts have long lobbied for an end to the separation of maritime policing responsibilities between different forces, nicknamed the “Nine Dragons”. While hawkish military experts hope the merger will strengthen China’s enforcement of its territorial claims, some foreign policy experts hope it could help reduce tensions as rival agencies no longer feel compelled to compete for public attention and funds by challenging ships from neighbouring countries.”