The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is looking to expand its presence in the Pacific region amid China's "harassment of vessels" in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific, said National Security Advisor Robert C O'Brien on Friday (local time).
"The United States is a Pacific power. The People's Republic of China's illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific, threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbours and endangers regional stability. Efforts of the United States Government, including the USCG are critical to countering these destabilising and malign actions," said O'Brien.
He further said, "The USCG is strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters, built in a proven Louisiana-based shipyard, in the western Pacific." The new generation of Fast Response Cutters will conduct maritime security missions, such as fisheries patrols, enhance maritime domain awareness and enforcement efforts in collaboration with regional partners who have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity, and ensure freedom of navigation.
With the aim to increase the US' capacity and presence in the Indo-Pacific region, in Fiscal Year 2021, the USCG is planning to evaluate the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in American Samoa.
"If the survey is favourable, the United States could further expand its presence in the South Pacific. Enhancing the presence of the USCG in the Indo-Pacific ensures the United States will remain the maritime partner of choice in the region," he said.
The relations between China and the US have also deteriorated in recent times due to various reasons including Indo-Pacific and coronavirus pandemic.