The Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said Wednesday it will expand China’s current ocean surveillance fleet by 36 more ships, state media reported. The SOA said the ships are needed to protect China’s maritime rights, which are threatened by competing claims to Chinese territory by Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. China has already allegedly begun drilling for natural gas reserves in the disputed Shiribaka/Chunxiao submarine gas field in the East China Sea. The escalation in tensions is pulling in the United States to support its regional allies. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now scheduled to make a surprise visit to China at the end of her 13 day Asia-Pacific tour.
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