A team of Philippine Coast Guardsmen ride a Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat during Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure practical scenario training as part of Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2018. (U.S. photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Micah Blechner)

Rise of the White Hulls: Indo-Pacific Coast Guards Become Diplomatic Tools

Nations in the Indo-Pacific region are employing “white hull” diplomacy, putting their coast guards to work to challenge China’s territorial claims at sea, a Philippine Coast Guard officer said recently.

Lt. Cmdr. Jay Tarriela described the growing strength and responsibility of coast guards in the western Pacific on April 19 while speaking to the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies near the home of U.S. Forces Japan.

“The rise of white hulls in the region has seen a noticeable uptick since the early 2000s,” he said.

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