China Allows Coast Guard to Fire on Intruding Foreign Vessels
Story Code : 912194
On Sunday, a US carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea for “routine operations.”
The National People’s Congress Standing Committee – China’s top legislative body, has given the Coast Guard the authority to use “any means necessary,” including firing on foreign ships, to protect areas where China claims jurisdiction, the South China Morning Post has reported, citing the text of the document.
The legislation, passed Friday, also reportedly allows Coast Guard forces to launch pre-emptive attacks on foreign ships without prior warning if commanders deem such a step to be necessary, and includes a provision under which Coast Guard personnel can board and inspect foreign vessels. It also allows Coast Guard forces to destroy structures belonging to other countries built in areas claimed by China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the law is in line with international practices, adding that Beijing “will remain committed to upholding peace and stability in the sea.”
Beijing claims control of wide swathes of the South China Sea – a strategic maritime area that serves as a key passage for international shipping and is a major source of untapped fishing and hydrocarbon resources. Parts of the body of water are also claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan.
On Saturday, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a statement claimed that the United States is concerned about the pattern of the People's Republic of China's efforts "to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan."
"We urge Beijing to end military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's elected representatives,” he added.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of China's territory and considers US moves and arms sales to Taiwan a violation of its sovereignty and contrary to the "one China" policy. However, the United States is effectively intruding on such affairs by sending ships to the Strait of Taiwan and providing military assistance to Taiwan, and Beijing has repeatedly protested. However, UN member states, including the United States, do not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.