Coast Guard officials discuss South China Sea maritime security

Coast Guard officials have discussed ways to ensure maritime security amid China's increasingly coercive actions in the South China Sea.

The Shangri-La Dialogue session in Singapore on Saturday included delegates from Southeast Asia, the United States, and Japan.

Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Ronnie Gil Gavan touched on a recent incident in which the Chinese Coast Guard fired water cannons at Philippine ships in the South China Sea, injuring crew members.

He said water cannons are supposed to "save lives and properties from fire, or simply to put off fire," and are not "meant to light up fire."

US Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan stressed plans to increase support for the Philippine Coast Guard and other organizations.

She said the United States will help its partners build their "own capacity to exercise sovereignty in their waters."

Japan Coast Guard Vice Commandant Seguchi Yoshio, who participated in the meeting for the first time, said "Coast Guard agency ships must not be used as tools to change the status quo."