China’s Central Military Commission has approved a military garrison for the South China Sea as territorial disputes continue to escalate in the region, Reuters reported, citing state media. The move is meant to further assert China’s sovereignty claims after Beijing upgraded the administrative status of the sea to the level of a city, which it calls Sansha. The military post would be responsible for “national defense mobilization; guarding the city and supporting local emergency rescue and disaster relief” and “carrying out military missions,” according to state media. Vietnamese state media reported Hanoi’s objection to the decision, with senior officials claiming that the region overlaps with Vietnamese territory. The Southeast Asian states called for restraint and dialogue in handling the dispute, but the way forward appears murky.
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