Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Washington [US], March 5 (ANI): Amid attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas by China, the United States and Japan on Thursday held bilateral security discussions on Beijing's Coast Guard Law.

During the video teleconference, the US was represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea Marc Knapper and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Security Mary Beth Morgan. Deputy Director General for North American Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yutaka Arima and Deputy Director General for Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense, Taro Yamato represented the Japanese government.

According to an official statement by the US State Department, both sides confirmed their continued close coordination to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, enhance deterrence and response capabilities, and bolster the US-Japan Alliance.

During the discussions, both sides exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific security environment, including the impact of COVID-19, as well as regional issues and bilateral defense cooperation.

"They also 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. They confirmed their continued close coordination to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, enhance deterrence and response capabilities, and bolster the US-Japan Alliance, which is stronger than ever," the State Department informed.

In January, China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, passed the coastguard law that empowers the coastguard to use "all necessary means" to deter threats posed by foreign vessels in waters "under China's jurisdiction".

It allows the coastguards to launch pre-emptive strikes without prior warning if commanders deem it necessary.

Under the new law, coastguard personnel can demolish structures built or installed by other countries in Chinese-claimed waters and board and inspect foreign ships in the area.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions. (ANI)

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