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China will set up an “international maritime judicial center” in a bid to help protect its sea rights, the country’s chief justice said Sunday, a move that analysts say Beijing could use to bolster its claims in the disputed South and East China seas.

Courts across the country are working to implement a national strategy of turning the country into a “maritime power,” Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said in a report during an annual meeting of the nation’s rubber-stamp legislature, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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