Taiwan, US coastguard agreement aims to counter China's expansion: Analyst
A new pact signed by Taiwan and the United States on coast guard cooperation aims at countering China's expansion, said a Taiwanese analyst.
According to Taiwan News, Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at Taiwan's Institute of National Defense and Security Research, said that the new pact between Washington and Taipei symbolises the clarification of America's strategy in the Indo-Pacific.
Taiwan and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Coast Guard Working Group (CGWG) in Washington DC on Thursday.
The pact seems to be in response to the Chinese coast guard law, which allows the country's coast guard to fire at any foreign vessels in the waters "under China's jurisdiction".
Su said that with the passing of its Coast Guard Law in late January, Beijing is attempting to strengthen its control over surrounding waters and the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese coastguard ships have played a leading role in asserting China's maritime claims, including in fishing disputes off Indonesia's Natuna Islands and the stand-off with Vietnam over Vanguard Bank.
In terms of organization, the Chinese Coast Guard is under command of the People's Armed Police, charged with integrating internal stability, border defence, and coastal defence. It is actually a "party police force," CNA cited Su as saying.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, something which is contested heavily by several countries in the region.
As per the report, some parts of the waters that fall within Manila's exclusive economic zone were renamed West Philippine Sea by the Philippine government.
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.
Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific.