The USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the US 7th fleet, anchored off Manila Bay in the Philippines for a routine port call on March 13. Under the new calculus, if the Philippine military were attacked by Chinese militia — essentially fishing boats backed by coastguard vessels — the treaty-bound US would be obligated to strike back. Photo: AP
Brian P. Klein
Opinion

Opinion

Brian P. Klein

How China’s ‘maritime militia’ raises the stakes for clashes with the US in the South China Sea

  • Change in US military protocol means Chinese ‘militia’ and navy are treated the same, and skirmishes could quickly escalate into armed conflict
  • What is needed is an effective and regular mechanism for two of the world’s largest military powers to address their issues peacefully

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The USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the US 7th fleet, anchored off Manila Bay in the Philippines for a routine port call on March 13. Under the new calculus, if the Philippine military were attacked by Chinese militia — essentially fishing boats backed by coastguard vessels — the treaty-bound US would be obligated to strike back. Photo: AP
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Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels have been increasingly active in the disputed waters. Photo: AP

Beijing’s blurred lines between military and non-military shipping in South China Sea could raise risk of flashpoint

  • Increasing deployment of coastguard and fishing vessels in disputed waters risks undermining regional stability
  • China’s construction of dual-use facilities ‘muddies the waters’ and increases concern among neighbouring countries which have their own claims
Topic |   South China Sea

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Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels have been increasingly active in the disputed waters. Photo: AP
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