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China employs three sea forces to defend and advance its maritime claims – the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the China Coast Guard and the maritime militia. This third force plays a vital role in protecting China’s maritime rights and interests, performing tasks that fit what observers are increasingly referring to as the ‘grey zone’ between war and peace. In this article, Conor Kennedy addresses Chinese considerations that guide the use of maritime militia and defines a range of operations by reviewing publicly known cases.
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