China Adds Powerful New Ship to Maritime Patrol Fleet

The 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03, launched Tuesday will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration, state media say.

China Adds Powerful New Ship to Maritime Patrol Fleet

China has added a new powerful ship to its fleet of maritime patrol vessels in the South China Sea, state media has reported.

The 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03 was launched on Tuesday and will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration (MSA),

the official China News Service reported, adding that it would help Hainan authorities to enforce jurisdiction independently.

Hainan is an island province off the south of the mainland, and includes a municipality in the disputed Paracel Islands from which it administers China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  

Chinese official documents suggest that China regards Hainan’s jurisdiction as covering around two million square kilometers of maritime area, though boundaries are not clearly demarcated and that jurisdiction is not recognized by its neighbors.

According to news reports, the Hai Xun 03 will conduct maritime patrol and law enforcement, search-and-rescue, emergency coordination and command; and prevention and control of ship pollution “in the South China Sea and surrounding waters.”

The Hai Xun 03 pictured in a frame grab from a video in state media. Credit: China News Service

China claims “historical rights” to most of the South China Sea but its claims are not supported by international law and are widely contested – including its assertion of the right to police disputed seas.

“Besides the coastguard force, the MSA also has a role in fronting China's maritime sovereignty and rights protection,” notes Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“If Hai Xun 03 is deployed on a regular basis to the Spratlys for example, it won't be particularly out of the blue since MSA has deployed large patrol vessels before to the area.”

According to Koh, the deployment would “still contribute towards reinforcing the impression that Beijing exercises jurisdiction in the South China Sea, and it contributes to its narrative also about providing so-called ‘common public goods’ to mariners in the area.”

China has invested heavily in patrol vessels and coastguard even as international criticism of its conduct in the South China Sea to assert its sweeping claims there has grown.

The Hai Xun 03 is 128.6 meters long, travels at 20 knots, and has a range of around 10,000 nautical miles. It can also patrol at sea for 60 days without supplies.

The ship has a maritime data center equipped with advanced integrated monitoring systems, according to Chinese media. It’s also designed with a hangar to carry multiple helicopters.

The ship is expected to be officially commissioned in March 2022. China's maritime surveillance fleet, which far exceeds those of its Southeast Asian neighbors, is estimated at more than 300 vessels but only a handful are above 3,000 tons.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Chin State Coalition Overruns Myanmar Military Outpost, Killing 12 Soldiers

A citizen militia teamed up with the Chin National Army to take over the camp, which they burned to the ground.

Chin State Coalition Overruns Myanmar Military Outpost, Killing 12 Soldiers

Anti-junta resistance forces in Myanmar joined up with an ethnic rebel group over the weekend and took over a military outpost in Chin state near the Indian border, killing 12 regime soldiers in the firefight, sources told RFA.

A coalition of about 400 combatants of the Chin National Army (CNA), and newly organized Chin Defense Force (CDF), were able to overrun the sparsely manned outpost Saturday evening in Chin State’s Thantlang township.

The CDF was formed by citizens who took up arms following the military takeover of the country Feb. 1 that oustied Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government.

They joined forces with the CNA, the armed group connected to the Chin National Front (CNF), a nationalist political organization that advocates for Myanmar’s Chin ethnic minority. Since its foundation in 1988 the CNA had been fighting against the Myanmar military, but it signed ceasefire agreements in 2012 and 2015.

Eight members of the CDF lost their lives in the attack over the weekend, according to local outlet The Irrawaddy.

Ronoe Lian, a CDF spokesperson in Thantlang, told RFA that the clash over the base in Lungler village lasted two days.

“A combined force of the CDF and CNA laid siege to the camp on the evening of Sept. 10. There was a four-hour-long battle that day, and at around 1:00 p.m., a jet fighter flew by twice, then circled the surroundings and bombed four times,” Ronoe Lian said.

The junta air support bombed the area about nine or 10 times that day, Ronoe Lian said. A report in the local media outlet Myanmar Now said the coalition that first attacked the base numbered about 200, but they retreated after the arial bombardment. The next day they returned in greater numbers.

“On the second day, we battled for over five or six hours. Finally, we overran the camp, seized all the ammunition and set it on fire,” Ronoe Lian said.

He said that the coalition were able to acquire ammunition and small arms stored in the camp, which was located just across the border from Mizoram state in India. The camp had been manned by 12 soldiers and had not received reinforcements in months.

The CDF told RFA that after the base was taken over, military helicopters were spotted in the area, likely on reconnaissance missions.

CNA spokesman Salai Htet Ni told RFA that the fighting could intensify because the military will likely bring in reinforcements to the area.

“The military can put a lot of pressure here. What we know is that they are sending reinforcements to this region, and we have heard that they plan to wipe out all CDF movements statewide,” Salai Htet Ni said.

“That’s why we are expecting bigger clashes. We think this is going to happen,” he said.

About 1,000 people living near the base fled toward the Indian border when fighting began Saturday, sources told RFA.

“People from Longler village and two other nearby villages are fleeing to safety to avoid the fighting,” a resident who requested anonymity for security reasons told RFA.

“Some people fled their houses before the battle started. Later on, more people fled toward the border,” the resident said. 

Salai Za Op Lin, the deputy executive director of the India-based Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) told RFA that about 1,000 civilians fled to Mizoram in recent days.

“Most of the villagers have fled to safety. This morning, when they saw military planes flying nearby, many of the villagers were terrified. We heard that a lot of the villagers left their homes after Sept. 10, when the military planes showed up,” Salai Za Op Lin said.

“They fled toward Kyainseng village in Mizoram, but there are also some people who are taking refuge nearby, an estimated 5,000 in total,” he said. 

The CHRO said more than 30,000 people have fled from Chin state to Mizoram since the coup. The military has responded by setting up road checks in many areas, which could cut of certain parts of the state from supplies and cause food shortages.

Junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun was not available for comment.

The attack on the outpost came days after Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) on Sept. 7 urged supporters to engage in a nationwide revolt. Interim President Duwa Lashi La called for for the complete overthrow of the junta.

Since then, the country has seen an increase in clashes between soldiers and citizens defense groups all over the country.

In the seven months since the coup, security forces have killed 1,089 civilians and arrested at least 6,477, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)—mostly during crackdowns on anti-junta protests.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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