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China to require foreign vessels to report in ‘territorial waters’

  • Integrity Education, Delhi
  • 30, Aug 2021
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  • Chinese authorities said they will require a range of vessels “to report their information” when passing through what China sees as its “territorial waters”, starting from September 1.
  • This could have ramifications for the free passage of both military and commercial vessels in the South China Sea.
  • The Maritime Safety Administration (China) said in a notice “operators of submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances are required to report their detailed information upon their visits to Chinese territorial waters
  • The Maritime Safety Administration “has the power to dispel or reject a vessel’s entry to Chinese waters if the vessel is found to pose a threat to China’s national security.”

Trade through South China Sea
Over $5 trillion trade passes through the South China Sea, and 55% of India’s trade passes through its waters and the Malacca Straits.

Why China is doing so ?
China claims under a so-called “nine dash line” on its maps most of the South China Sea’s waters, which are disputed by several other countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Is this valid according to International Laws ?

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) gives States the right to establish a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles.
  • The requirements of the latest notice will also be seen as being inconsistent with UNCLOS, which states that ships of all countries “enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea”.