Intl exchange gives coast guard officers perspective

By Chen Bowen in Haikou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-09 09:04
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China Coast Guard officers introduce shipborne equipment to their Vietnam counterparts aboard the Coast Guard ship Nanxun in Hainan province on Thursday. CHINA DAILY

Young coast guard officers from China and Vietnam wrapped up a five-day exchange program last week, highlighting a growing partnership focused on maritime law enforcement cooperation in the South China Sea.

The program, organized by the China Coast Guard's South China Sea Branch, aimed to foster friendship and understanding between the two nations' future maritime leaders. It provided a platform for officers to participate in visits to coast guard units, observe ship drills and engage in discussions on law enforcement practices. Cultural activities, including ocean-themed tours and sports competitions, rounded out the exchange.

Participants emphasized the program's role in promoting mutual learning and collaboration, saying such exchanges are crucial for expanding knowledge, sharpening skills and building stronger relationships.

Discussions focused on challenges and best practices in each country's maritime law enforcement, offering fresh perspectives and innovative approaches.

"Sharing knowledge and experiences paves the way for mutual improvement in operational capabilities," said Lieutenant Colonel Liu Jing, a Chinese law enforcement officer. "Our collaboration can set a bench mark for regional cooperation."

The exchange program complements existing efforts between the China and Vietnam coast guards. Since signing a Memorandum of Cooperation in 2016, the two sides have conducted joint patrols and exercises, facilitated ship visits, and established a communication channel for exchanging information on illegal fishing and maritime emergencies.

"Improved coordination and mutual understanding will make future collaboration in handling emergencies and conducting joint patrols more effective," said Major Wang Chongyang of the China Coast Guard's South China Sea Branch.

Both sides expressed a commitment to building on this progress.

"We will uphold the tradition of camaraderie established by previous generations, further strengthen communication and deepen law enforcement cooperation," said Colonel Wang Weixiong, from the China Coast Guard Headquarters.

Vietnamese participants echoed that sentiment, highlighting the program's impact.

"China's professionalism and adherence to tradition have enhanced our understanding and cooperation," said Nguyen Quoc Ngu of the Vietnam Coast Guard. "We hope these exchanges continue with even more diverse content in the future."

Since the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation, the two sides have held seven high-level meetings, conducted over 10 joint patrols and exercises, and conducted ship visits in 2016, 2017, and last year. Through the China-Vietnam Coast Guard liaison mechanism, both parties regularly exchange information on fishing vessels engaged in illegal activities, share clues on illegal maritime activities and promptly report on the situation of distressed individuals at sea.

"In the future, the China and Vietnam coast guards will further deepen and expand exchanges at all levels and in all areas," said Major Cai Wang, a staff officer with the South China Sea Branch of the China Coast Guard. "We will intensify ship visits, joint exercises and joint law enforcement patrols, collaborate on handling maritime emergencies, and contribute to maintaining maritime security and stability in the region."

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