Yesterday, the US State Department called on China to stop the pressure on Taiwan after Taipei said that Chinese aircraft violated its airspace, while Beijing passed a law requiring fire on any foreign ships violating its maritime borders, amid escalating tension in the South China Sea.
“We urge Beijing to stop its military, diplomatic and economic pressures against Taiwan and to enter into a meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry announced that 8 aircraft from bombers and 4 Chinese fighters penetrated into the southwestern corner of the island’s air defense zone, and that the Taiwan Air Force sent missiles to “monitor” the incursion.
During the past few months, China – which considers Taiwan part of its territory – has carried out almost daily sorties over the waters separating the southern part of Taiwan and the “Bratas” islands controlled by Taiwan in the South China Sea.
In the context of mounting tension in the region, China on Friday passed a law authorizing coast guards to fire at foreign ships, when necessary.
The law – passed by the Chinese parliament – authorizes the navy to take all necessary measures, including the use of arms, in the event of a violation of national sovereignty at sea by foreign organizations or individuals.
The law also authorizes the Coast Guard to destroy any facilities of other countries built on coral reefs and islands claimed by China, and to seize or order foreign ships entering China’s territorial waters illegally to leave.
It is noteworthy that Beijing considers about 95% of the South China Sea to be its own property, and says that it has historical rights in it, while its neighbors (Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei) are protesting and demanding what it considers rights in those waters guaranteed by the international law of the sea.