China passed a new law Friday granting its coast guard more leeway in asserting Chinese claims in the contested South China Sea and authorizing the use of force against foreign vessels.
The National People’s Congress passed the Coast Guard Law of the People’s Republic of China to help the China Coast Guard defend “national sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and interests.”
Since it was founded in 2013, the CCG has operated across the South China Sea, which is the site of overlapping maritime and territorial claims between China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei. In 2018, the CCG was transferred from the State Oceanic Administration to the People’s Armed Police, making it part of China’s military.
The CCG already has a reputation for confronting and sometimes clashing with fishing boats and other vessels of neighboring countries in contested waters in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually all for itself.
Analysts see the new law as an attempt to provide grounds for escalating CCG’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea. Carl Thayer, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that “China is just trying to dress up whatever it does and say ‘Our laws cover it.’”
Full story: BenarNews
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