Japan expresses concern to UK over new Chinese maritime law

Tokyo Feb 3 (AP) Japan’s foreign minister and defense minister expressed strong concern to their British counterparts on Wednesday over a new Chinese maritime law that took effect two days earlier.

Japan is staying alert and paying close attention to its effect on us, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in online talks between the two sides.

“I believe the law should not be used in a way that violates international law.

Japan sees China’s escalating influence and military activity in the region as a security threat and has been stepping up defense cooperation with the U.S., Australia, Southeast Asian countries, as well as Britain.

The new Chinese Coast Guard Law, which increases the possibility of clashes with regional rivals, empowers the force to take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

It also authorises the coast guard to demolish other countries’ structures built on areas claimed by China and to seize or order foreign vessels illegally entering China’s territorial waters to leave.

We would like to share our strong concern with you about the law, Motegi, accompanied by Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, told British counterparts Dominic Raab and Ben Wallace, who joined them from London.

China’s coast guard is active near disputed East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing. China also claims virtually the entire South China Sea.

The coast guard’s activities have brought it into frequent contact with the Japanese coast guard and air force.

The ministers were also expected to discuss ways to deepen defense and security cooperation between Japan and Britain to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific vision that Japan promotes with the U.S., Australia and India to counter China.

Kishi welcomed the planned dispatch of a British aircraft carrier strike group this year to East Asia as part of Britain’s growing commitment to the region. (AP)