TAIPEI — Beijing has stationed its first permanent search and rescue ship in a hotly disputed part of the South China Sea as a public relations move after alarming smaller countries with a military buildup in the same waters, analysts say. The Ministry of Transport in China sent the vessel, called South Sea Rescue 115, to the Spratly Islands on July 27, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The vessel can work in storm gales and waves up to six meters high, according to Xinhua. It’s also equipped with a helicopter pad. More such vessels will be built, the agency added. The ministry’s Rescue and Salvage Bureau will “consistently improve its standby mechanism in the South China Sea region to better carry out maritime rescue duties and obligations under international treaties,” bureau head Wang Zhenliang said as quoted by Xinhua. China may have sent and publicized this vessel’s deployment to look good after angering other states over militarization, experts say. “The whole thing about making big announcements about like having a humanitarian activity is kind of just trying to put a friendly veneer on top of what is pretty clearly militarization and just trying to kind of like brainwash,” said… Read full this story
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