China empowers coast guard to fire on foreign vessels amid territorial disputes

25-Jan-2021 Intellasia | NBC News | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China has authorised its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels and destroy structures on features it claims, potentially raising the possibility of clashes with regional maritime rivals.

The Coast Guard Law passed on Friday empowers the force to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organisations or individuals at sea.”

A Philippine fisherman watches a China Coast Guard vessel patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal [File: Erik De Castro/Reuters]

A Philippine fisherman watches a China Coast Guard vessel patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal [File: Erik De Castro/Reuters]

The law also authorises the coast guard to demolish other countries’ structures built on reefs and islands claimed by China and to seize or order foreign vessels illegally entering China’s territorial waters to leave.

China’s coast guard is the most powerful force of its kind in the region and is already active in the vicinity of uninhabited East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing, as well as in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

Those activities have brought the coast guard into frequent contact with air and sea forces from Japan, its chief ally the US, and other claimants to territory in the South China Sea, including Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-empowers-coast-guard-fire-foreign-vessels-amid-territorial-disputes-n1255425

 

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