In a bid to ease mounting tensions in the South China Sea, Beijing’s embassy in Manila gave assurances to their host that the newly-enacted Coast Guard law is really nothing to worry about.
Only recently, China passed a new law explicitly allowing its Coast Guard ships patrolling the disputed area to “open fire” on foreign vessels found to be encroaching in its waters.
The SCS – which China is claiming almost entirely over the objections of countries like Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines – is a strategic area where some $2 trillion in global trade traverse annually, aside from its deposits of oil and natural gas.
“Enacting such a law is not unique to China, but a sovereign right to all. Many countries have enacted similar legislation… none of these have been seen as a threat of war,” according to an official statement.
The embassy said the new Coast Guard law is merely “domestic legislation” and assured Manila that it would seek a negotiated resolution to existing disputes in the SCS (which is also referred to as the West Philippine Sea).
Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin last week sent a diplomatic protest over Beijing’s move which he described as a “a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it.”
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler