The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is putting a lot of money into aggressive “gray zone” operations in disputed waters worldwide. The gray zone is a transgression approaching the threshold of war but still under it. That is according to the latest “China Security Report 2023” report by Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies.
According to the report, Beijing is trying to “create gray zone situations constantly and exert pressure on opponents as it avoids military clashes with other countries.”
China does this by integrating the China Coast Guard and “maritime militia” into the military command.
In 2018, the China Coast Guard received orders from the People’s Armed Police Force—a paramilitary force. China’s Central Military Commission runs this force.
Shinji Yamaguchi is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies and one author of the report. He said:
“The coast guard and maritime militia have stepped up activities since the 2010s.”
“They have also weaponized activities.”
The report was released after Japan repeatedly accused China of invading Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, or Diaoyu Islands in Chinese. It is a group of islets in the East China Sea claimed by both countries.
The report also said China’s coast guard is more aggressive in the South China Sea than in the East China Sea. Beijing has many sovereignty disputes with countries in the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam. China claims most of this area.
In related news, Japan also raises warning about attacks by ballistic missiles.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, on Thursday, November 24, Japanese defense officials said the country needs to improve its ability to defend itself. In a meeting, Japan’s defense officials told the ruling coalition that the country’s defense system was not ready for simultaneous ballistic missile attacks.