China Implements New Rules to Detain Foreigners in Disputed South China Sea
China Implements New Rules to Detain Foreigners in Disputed South China Sea

China has introduced new maritime regulations allowing its coastguard to detain foreigners in the disputed South China Sea. These rules, effective immediately, permit detentions of up to 60 days for those "suspected of violating management of border entry and exit." Foreign ships found illegally entering China's claimed territorial waters can be detained.

China's extensive claims over the South China Sea, including areas contested by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations, were dismissed by a 2016 ruling from an arbitration tribunal in The Hague. However, China has continued to enforce its claims, deploying coastguard ships and constructing militarized artificial islands.

Tensions between China and the Philippines have escalated, with confrontations between vessels from both countries becoming increasingly common. The new regulations have been labeled as a "very worrisome" escalation by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In response to China's actions, the Philippines has taken steps to assert its own claims. The Department of Foreign Affairs recently submitted legal filings to the United Nations, reaffirming its maritime rights in the South China Sea, referred to locally as the West Philippine Sea.

Incidents in the contested waters have included the Chinese coastguard using water cannons against Philippine vessels, leading to accusations of "barbaric and inhumane behavior." These confrontations have resulted in injuries to Filipino soldiers. Philippine military chief General Romeo Brawner has indicated that Manila is planning measures to protect its fishermen in these disputed areas.

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