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Chinese Coast Guard ship sails near Beijing, December 2014.

China's New Coast Guard Law Generates Tension with Neighboring Countries

China and Japan have been arguing over the seas that border them, claiming certain seas as theirs. However China brought this to a new level with their most recent foreign policy. This new policy allows Chinese Coast Guard vessels to fire upon any foreign vessel in Chinese waters. This means Chinese Coast Guard vessels can destroy objects placed on reefs in their seas by a foreign power, board and search foreign vessels, and fire on foreign vessels. According to, “The law prescribes 'all necessary means' to stop foreign vessels, including use of weapons aboard Chinese ships.” This could raise tensions between Japan and China, but more importantly between Japan's allies and China's allies.


On January 22nd, 2021, the new law allowing China's Coast guard to take action far beyond the standards of other nations, was passed by the Chinese government. It isn’t just Japan that is worried about this law however. In July 2014, Chinese Coast Guard vessels chased down a Vietnamese Coast Guard ship when it came within 10 nautical miles of an oil rig. However, they didn’t fire on the vessel as that would have meant hostilities and maybe open war between the nations. So it’s no surprise that nations boarding and sharing oceans and seas with China have raised concern of this to the world and to their allies.


The allies of Japan and the nations that share the same problem as Japan have made a few statements on it and have expressed their concern on the subject. For example, the U.S has reaffirmed that a group of islands, known as the Senkakus, will remain under US and Japanese protection. This is particularly important because this is one of many areas that are disputed between Japan and China. The US department of defense has also expressed concerns to the Chinese government and in general about this new law. The Philippines have also expressed that this law is hurting their fishing economy because Chinese Sailors search their boats.


The new Law passed by the Chinese Government has raised many concerns among many different nations and governments. Many people have expressed that this law is dangerous and that it is starting unnecessary trouble, trouble that might start conflicts and even wars between nations. Many nations however have expressed their desire for peace amid this new law and are hoping that the Chinese Coast Guard only uses it when necessary if at all.