Chinese Coast Guard Vessel Conducted Patrol Within Vietnam’s EEZ

On February 18th, a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel conducted a patrol in Vietnam’s oil and natural gas fields near Vanguard Bank, within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The Kiem Ngu 261, a Vietnamese surveillance fisheries vessel, shadowed the CCG vessel during its patrol.

This maritime activity is part of the Chinese gray zone tactic playbook, where Beijing sends vessels into separate economic zones belonging to different countries as a mechanism to assert dominance in territorial waters. Projecting power in disputed waters is not a new method of intimidation for the Chinese government, and the report of the intrusion into the Vietnamese zone is just one of the many examples of this larger strategy to reclaim regional control.