The US expressed concern about China’s newly implemented Coast Guard legislation, which it said could intensify the region’s existing territorial and maritime conflicts and could be invoked to assert illegal claims.
Last month, China passed a law that specifically allows its coast guards to fire on foreign vessels for the first time.”The United States is joining the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and other countries in expressing concern about China’s recently enacted Coast Guard law, which could escalate the ongoing territorial and maritime conflicts,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a conference call.
In both the South China Sea and the East China Sea, China is involved in fiercely contested territorial disputes. Many of the islands and reefs it occupies in the area have been developed and militarised by Beijing.
It is said that both areas are rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are important to global trade.Almost all of the South China Sea is claimed by China. There are counterclaims over the region by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The new law could make the disputed waters more complicated around China. “We are specifically concerned by the language in the law which expressly links the potential use of force, including the Chinese Coast Guard’s armed forces, to the enforcement of Chinese claims in the ongoing territorial and maritime conflicts in the East and South China Seas,” he said.
The language in that law, including the text authorizing the coast guard to destroy the economic structures of other countries and use force to protect the maritime claims of China in the disputed areas, clearly suggests that this law may be used to threaten China’s maritime neighbours.