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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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The newspaper said that the government will also send new maritime surveillance ships to join the fleet responsible for patrolling the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas and straddling shipping lanes between East Asia and Europe and the Middle East.

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The stakes have risen in the area as the U.S. military shifts its attention and resources back to Asia, emboldening its long-time ally the Philippines and former foe Vietnam to take a tougher stance against Beijing.

China has further angered the Philippines and Vietnam by issuing new passports showing a map depicting China's claims to the disputed waters.

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