Chinese police plan to board ships in disputed seas
(Reuters) - Police in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan will board and search ships which enter into what China considers its territorial waters in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Thursday, a move which could raise tensions further.
The South China Sea is Asia's biggest potential military trouble spot with several Asian countries claiming sovereignty.
New rules, which come into effect on January 1, will allow Hainan police to board and seize control of foreign ships which "illegally enter" Chinese waters and order them to change course or stop sailing, the official China Daily reported.
China's assertion of sovereignty over the stretch of water off its south coast and to the east of mainland Southeast Asia has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts.