US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) crew members observe the stars from Bertholf’s flight deck as the cutter and crew patrol the South China Sea, April 21, 2019.
US Coast Guard/Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi
US presence in South China Sea models maritime governance — US coast guard chief
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - July 24, 2019 - 5:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — The presence of the US Coast Guard in the disputed South China Sea is meant to model maritime governance, an American admiral said.

Adm. Karl Shultz, commandant of the US Coast Guard, noted that their operations in the area have surged upon the request of Indo-Pacific commander under the US Department of Defense.

The US Coast Guard has deployed its cutters USCGC Bertholf and USCGC Stratton to the region from January to mid-June.

"What we think we bring is appropriate behavior," Schultz said in a telephone briefing Tuesday.

Schultz added that the presence of their ships in the region seeks to reinforce a free and open rules-based mindset.

"I think what we would champion is transparent engagement," Schultz said, taking a swipe at China.

Beijing has increased the number of its ships in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, lately.

Hundreds of Chinese vessels, believed to be part of its maritime militia, have been swarming Subi Reef, which is 12-nautical miles from Philippine-controlled Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

Schultz said the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard, as well as the People's Liberation Army Navy, are not consistent with the rules-based order.

"I think the coast guard voice, the US Navy voice, allied partners, regional partners, neighbors, I think there needs to be an international push-back to say you know, we reject the types of behaviors, the antagonistic, aggressive behaviors that are not consistent with the rules-based order," the admiral said.

The US Coast Guard earlier confirmed that they have been keeping tabs of Beijing's activities in the South China Sea.

Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the US Coast Guard Pacific Area, said they would continue monitoring Chinese militia in the contested waterway.

"We obviously are aware and have been following the militia and some of the activity," Fagan said in June.

CHINA SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED STATES US COAST GUARD WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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