Territorial disputes in the South China Sea present an array of potential flashpoints between countries with overlapping claims. In recent years, many of these countries have mobilized government vessels traditionally used for maritime law enforcement to reinforce their territorial claims. Key among these states is China, which has actively employed its coast guard and other maritime law enforcement agencies to project power and assert sovereignty throughout the South China Sea. ChinaPower has developed an interactive timeline that traces major maritime law enforcement incidents in the South China Sea from 2010 to the present day.
January 6, 2016: The Taiwanese coast guard rammed and fired water cannons at Vietnamese fishing vessels near Sand Cay in the disputed Spratly Islands.
February 5, 2016: The Chinese coast guard and navy harassed a Philippine naval supply ship near Half Moon Shoal.
February 28, 2016: The Chinese coast guard prevented Philippine fishing boats from entering Jackson Atoll.
March 5, 2016: The Chinese coast guard rammed the Philippines’ fishing boats in order to deny access to Scarborough Shoal.
March 6, 2016: A Vietnamese fishing boat was boarded by the Chinese coast guard near the disputed Paracel Islands.
March 14, 2016: Filipino fishermen were denied access to Scarborough Shoal by the Chinese coast guard.
March 19, 2016: The Chinese coast guard prevented Indonesia from arresting a Chinese fishing boat operating near the Natuna Islands.
March 20, 2016: Filipino fishermen and the Chinese coast guard had a physical confrontation near Scarborough Shoal.
May 9, 2016: Filipino fishermen operating near Commodore Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands were beaten by Malaysian naval forces, prompting an official apology by the Malaysian government.
May 25, 2016: Chinese fishermen operating near the Philippines’ island province of Camiguin rammed a Philippine coast guard ship in an attempt to avoid arrest.
June 17, 2016: A Chinese coast guard vessel prevented the arrest of a Chinese fishing vessel by an Indonesian naval vessel near the Natuna Islands.
July 8, 2016: A Thai naval vessel fired upon Vietnamese fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Thailand, prompting a Vietnamese government complaint.
July 9, 2016: Chinese coast guard ships rammed Vietnamese fishing vessels near Discovery Reef in the disputed Paracel Islands, prompting a complaint from the Vietnamese government.