“Navy chief (US Navy CNO Admiral John Richardson–Chuck) says Washington will use military rules of engagement to curb provocative behavior”
This is, if anything, overdue. The Chinese Coast Guard and Maritime Militia are effectively arms of the Chinese government in the same way the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is.
The Chinese have been taking advantage of the more ambiguous state of these agencies. They act boldly and if things go well, the Chinese government takes advantage. It things go badly, they can avoid responsibility, particularly with regard to the Militia.
The nations of South East Asia should make a similar stand. The decision to provide a Coast Guard as an agency separate from the Navy is strictly a national prerogative. It does not provide any special status relative to naval vessels. You don’t get a pass just because you are painted white. Similarly fishing vessels employed for aggressive government purposes enjoy no special protection. When they misbehave, they need to face consequence.