China has decided to put its Coast Guard under the People’s Armed Police Force, moving it closer to the formal status of a military force.

The Coast Guard has been a division of the country’s Oceanic Administration since 2013, which is under the civilian Ministry of Land and Resources, but that Administration, itself just five years old, is to be disbanded.

Its functions will now be taken over by the newly formed Ministry of Natural Resources, which is replacing the Ministry of Land and Resources as well as the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

The Coast Guard’s largest ship, the 25-knot CCG 3901, was completed last year by Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard and is larger than the US Navy’s 9,600-tonne displacement Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and also outclasses Japan’s 6,500-tonne displacement Shikishima-class coast guard cutters.  Jim Shaw