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China fires opening salvo at Biden, making coast guard quasi-military

New law seen as warning to Japan and US over Senkakus

This Chinese coast guard ship is equipped with weapons believed to be 76-millimeter guns.   © Kyodo

BEIJING -- Two days into the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, China enacted legislation Friday explicitly granting broad powers to the country's coast guard and confirming the force's quasi-military status.

Specifically, it authorizes the coast guard to fire on foreign ships under certain circumstances. The agency will be empowered to "carry out defense operations" under the orders of the Central Military Commission, the military's top decision-making body.

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