China now allows coast guard to fire and destroy any foreign vessels that enter South China Sea.
Image Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters
On Friday, China passed the Coast Guard Law, which would allow the coast guard to fire upon, and destroy, if necessary, any ships that trespass into Chinese territory in the South China Sea. This is basically the whole South China Sea, as China claims that around 90% of the sea is theirs. Read more about its expansion of a naval base in the South China Sea in the following link.
The Coast Guard Law stipulates that the Chinese coast guard can take,
All necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.China Coast Guard Law
The Coast Guard also has authorization to destroy any structures built on islands and reefs which are claimed by China. They also have the power to seize any foreign vessels which trespass or order them to leave the area.
This will undoubtedly escalate tension in the region as clashes between China and other countries are occurring on a regular basis. The Chinese coast guard clashed a lot with Japanese air and naval forces in the East China Sea, where the Chinese navy is slowly increasing its presence as they made claim of Diaoyu islands. Japan considers the islands as theirs.
Chinese coast guard is already very active in the South China Sea, and will continue to do so to make sure to be the dominant power in East Asia and prevent United States from strengthening its influence there. East Asia is known to have huge reserves of oil, natural gas and fish stocks. This would allow China to continue to boost its growing economy, which will surpass the United States by 2030 if the current trend of growth continues.