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G7 leaders slam China for dangerous SCS acts

By European Union, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=149338573
Manila Standard

Says no legal basis for ‘expansive’ claims

The Group of Seven on Saturday called out Beijing for its “increasing use” of dangerous maneuvers and water cannons against Filipino vessels as new Chinese coast guard rules allowing it to detain “trespassers” in the South China Sea took effect yesterday.

In a communiqué following the G7 Summit in Apulia, Italy, the leaders of the powerful economic grouping raised concerns about the situation in the East and South China Seas, reiterating their “strong opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion.”

“We continue opposing China’s dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia in the South China Sea and its repeated obstruction of countries’ high seas freedom of navigation,” they said in the statement.

“We express serious concern about the increasing use of dangerous maneuvers and water cannons against Philippine vessels.”

The G7 leaders reaffirmed their rejection of China’s maritime claims beyond the zones specified by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, citing the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s massive nine-dash-line claim over the SCS, including areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

“We reaffirm that there is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization, and coercive and intimidation activities in the South China Sea.”

The G7 represents the world’s leading industrialized democracies – Canada, France, the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

China deploys coast guard and other boats to patrol the disputed waters and has turned several reefs into militarized artificial islands.

From Saturday, China’s coast guard can detain foreigners “suspected of violating management of border entry and exit,” according to the new regulations published online.

Detention is allowed up to 60 days in “complicated cases.”

“Foreign ships that have illegally entered China’s territorial waters and the adjacent waters may be detained.”

Trillions of dollars in ship-borne trade passes through the South China Sea annually, and huge unexploited oil and gas deposits are believed to lie under its seabed, though estimates vary greatly.

The sea is also important as a source of fish for growing populations. With AFP

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