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Chinese officials will board, seize ships in disputed waters

Beginning January 1, Chinese police will board and seize control of foreign ships which enter waters that are the center of a territorial dispute between multiple Asian nations.

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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 BruneiTaiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts.

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China occasionally detains fishermen, mostly from Vietnam, who it accuses of operating illegally in Chinese waters, though generally frees them quite quickly.

Hainan, which likes to style itself as China's answer to Hawaii or Bali with its resorts and beaches, is the province responsible for administering the country's extensive claims to the myriad islets and atolls in the South China Sea.

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