Iran Press TV

China to open international maritime judicial center

Iran Press TV

Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:16AM

A top court in China says Beijing is set to establish an international maritime judicial center as tensions continue to escalate over a growing territorial dispute in the South and East China Sea.

On Sunday, the Supreme People's Court made the announcement in a report to the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) legislature.

The court's head, Zhou Qiang, said the new maritime judicial center would help Beijing "implement its strategy of becoming a powerful maritime country," and "resolutely defend" its "national sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, and other core interests."

Zhou did not, however, provide details on how the center would differ from other existing judicial institutions.

According to a last year statement by the Supreme Court, China already has a system of maritime courts, which have adjudicated over 225,000 cases over the past three decades.

Beijing has long-standing disputes over maritime territory in the South and East China Sea with states such as Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan, which also claim territory in the region.

The Philippines has recently taken its dispute with China to an international tribunal in The Hague, drawing criticism from Beijing.

China has been expanding its presence and capacity to respond to what it calls growing threats against its interests. The country is also reforming its military by investing in submarines and aircraft carriers.

Beijing is also uneasy with the US military buildup in Southeast Asia and regular military exercises between American forces and their allies in the region.

Washington is assertively siding with China's rivals in a dispute over a group of islands in the South China Sea, with Beijing accusing Washington of interfering in its regional affairs.

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