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Patrols in Hainan get more power to stop illegal sea entry

Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2012-11-28 14:40:00

 Latest News

Hainan gives police power to stop illegal sea entry

Border patrol police in China's southernmost province of Hainan on Tuesday were given the power to embark on and check ships which illegally enter its waters.

  Detailed Regulations

A newly revised maritime regulation was enacted by the Standing Committee of Hainan Provincial People's Congress on November 27.

The regulation defines six practices of illegal activities of foreign ships or crews. These include illegal landing on the islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan, damaging coastal defense facilities or facilities for production and living, and carrying out publicity campaigns that endanger China's national security.

The police can land on, check, seize and expel foreign ships illegally entering the island province's sea areas.

Hainan border police are entitled to use these measures to stop the illegally entering ships or to force them into changing or reversing course

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, foreign ships are only allowed to make inoffensive passage through China's territorial waters, meaning they can neither stop nor drop anchor.

In the past, when foreign ships broke the UN convention, the best thing our patrol force could do was chase them out of China's waters. This new regulation will change that situation and grant the patrol force the legal means to actually do its job.

Source: Xinhua-Global Times

   Viewpoints

"This new regulation showed that China will strengthen the construction of its maritime law in the near future. The power granted by the international convention must be reflected in the domestic legal system.  Past maritime conflicts in the South China Sea have exposed the deficiencies in China's maritime law system and the new regulation is aimed at fixing those problems,"------Li Zhaojie, a maritime law professor from Tsinghua University

"China's move to establish domestic laws and regulations in the sea will inevitably lead to resistance from countries that have disputes with China regarding related sea areas. China must be prepared for all kinds of consequences, from diplomatic spats to administrative measures, and even possible military confrontation. On the other hand, China should be more vocal in expressing its preference in solving the disputes in line with international laws and customs,"------Zhu Zhenming, deputy director of the Southeast Asia Research Institute affiliated with the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences


  South China Sea Conflict

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Photo: China's National Administration
of Surveying, Mapping and
Geoinformation

The South China Sea covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers, and some 200,000 square kilometers of waters are settled. The region has abundant resources of oil and natural gas, and some surrounding countries have been exploring resources there for years.

China has declared indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters, but several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have made competing claims.

Countries including Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, which contains important shipping routes and is also believed to contain rich oil and gas reserves. The issues in the South China Sea are not only a conflict over the islands, but also includes resources of oil and natural gas, underwater archaeology, hydrogeothermal and fishery.


  China's Actions 

On June 21, the State Council approved the establishment of Sansha city, the government of which is located on Yongxing Island, to manage the unpopulated Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Island groups and surrounding waters. The move is intended to maintain China's sovereignty over the area.
 
GT editorial: The idea of establishing Sansha city emerged as early as 2007, but was shelved due to protests by Vietnam. Now China has taken a concrete step, signaling its determination to administer the Nansha Islands and related sea areas. The new level of management carries more weight than the law of Vietnam.More

China issued new passports that  include a map of territories also claimed by other countries.The map lays clear claim of China to the maritime sovereignty in the South China seas.

The on-going passport row can be solved via diplomatic channels.  After all, it is not possible to suspend Sino-foreign personnel exchanges due to this episode.------Zhao Gancheng, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies

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