U.S. and Japan deeply concerned over China’s New Coast Guard Law risks for maritime security in South China Sea

U.S. and Japan deeply concerned over China’s New Coast Guard Law risks for maritime security in South China Sea

The United States and Japan expressed their concerns over China Coast Guard (CCG) Law in a bilateral security discussion held by video teleconference on March 4, 2021. 

Participants exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific security environment.  Both sides reiterated their strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas, exchanging views and sharing their deep concerns over the PRC’s Coast Guard Law.

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress passed the China Coast Guard (CCG) Law on January 22, taking effect on Feburay 1, that for the first time explicitly specifies the conditions under which the Chinese coast guard would be allowed to use weapons on foreign vessels.

Article 21 of the CCG Law states that in cases where foreign military vessels or government vessels operating for noncommercial purposes violate China’s domestic laws in waters under China’s jurisdiction, “the CCG shall have the right to take necessary security and control measures to restrain foreign military vessels and foreign vessels used for non-commercial purposes in waters under China’s jurisdiction from violating the laws or regulations of China. For those who refuse to leave and cause serious harm or threat, the Maritime Security Organization has the right to take measures such as deportation and forced towing.”

The Philippines filed a formal rejection of it on January 27, emphasizing that, given the large area involved and China’s ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, the law is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the two governments to demonstrate the strength and continued resilience of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.  

They confirmed their continued close coordination to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, enhance deterrence and response capabilities, and bolster the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which is stronger than ever.

The delegations also discussed the impact of COVID-19, as well as regional issues and bilateral defense cooperation.

George Costa

George Costa is a reporter specialized in defence and security systems. He covers international defence and security issues, such as international conflicts, WMD proliferation, and cybersecurity, as well as news reporting on developments in the global defence community.