In a statement released by White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on October 23, the U.S. Coast Guard will evaluate the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in the western Pacific. According to the release, which can be read below, the study is being conducted in response to alleged predatory activities by Chinese fishing fleets and to ensure freedom of navigation.
Statement from National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien
The United States promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific region where likeminded nations uphold the international rules-based order.
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 neighbors and endangers regional stability. Efforts of the United States Government, including the United States Coast Guard (USCG) are critical to countering these destabilizing and malign actions.
The USCG continues to modernize and enhance the capabilities of its fleet of major cutters, which play a prominent role in protecting our vital national interests, and where appropriate, those of our partners in the region. To that end, 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.
In an effort to bolster our capacity and presence in the Indo-Pacific region, in Fiscal Year 2021, the USCG plans to evaluate the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in American Samoa. If the survey is favorable, 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.