China Unilaterally Announced Ownership Of South China Sea: Does It Deserve It?


China has recently issued new decree of its sovereign rights over 80% of South China Sea or East Sea through its provincial regulations of Hainan. The rights come with responsibilities.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

Ironically, China has historically denied to fulfill its responsibility when problems arouse in Paracels islands or South China Sea.

According to the research paper of University of Maryland regarding the “Legal Status of the Paracel and Spratly islands,”

“In 1895 and 1896, there were two shipwrecks around the Paracels that involved foreign vessels. The Bellona wrecked on the north reef in 1895 and the Imezi Manx on the Amphitrite group in 1896, both laden with copper insured by British companies. When Chinese nationals salvaged part of the cargoes, took the copper to the Chinese island of Hainan, and exhibited an intention to resell them to the ship-owners, a complex case of conflicting claims arose, involving Britian, China, and France (Vietnam was then a French protec- torate). On the ground that the Paracels did not belong to China, the local Chinese authorities refused to accept any responsibility either for the shipwrecks or for the salvaged cargoes.23″

From 1978-1992, more than 1.2 million Vietnamese took the boats to escape Vietnam, where was the Chinese PLA Navy? About 400,000 boat people perished their lives in South China Sea and there was never any sign of Chinese assistance in rescuing the boat people.

080505-BoatPeople_map_Archive of Vietnamese Boat People Inc..jpg

Vietnamese Boat People Escape Routes

These simple facts alone would have disowned China of any merits of its claims over South China Sea. Ownership comes with responsibilities.

China has ordered foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from regional authorities before fishing or surveying in two thirds of the South China Sea, setting up the potential for new confrontations between Beijing and its neighbors over maritime sovereignty claims to disputed islands.

The new orders went into effect Jan. 1 after they were issued late November by Hainan island provincial government authorities.

Under the new regulations, all foreign fishing boats that transit into a new Hainan’s administrative zone in the sea—an area covering two-thirds of the 1.5 million square mile South China Sea—must be approved by Chinese authorities.

The new measures were imposed Nov. 29 and announced Dec. 3 in state media as part of a policy of enforcing Chinese fisheries law.

Chinese law states that any ships that violate the fishing regulations will be forced out of the zone, have their catch confiscated, and face fines of up to $82,600. In some cases, fishing boats could be confiscated and their crew prosecuted under Chinese law.

It is the first time China has made a clear legal claim to disputed fishing grounds claimed by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and other states in the region.

A Chinese maritime patrol boat struck a Vietnamese fishing boat Jan. 3 near the Paracel Islands in the first incident under the new rules, according to Vietnamese state media. The Chinese used Tasers and batons to subdue the fishermen and confiscated their 5-ton catch of fish along with fishing equipment. The incident was reported on the website Fishermen Stories.

The new South China Sea fishing rules have not been disclosed publicly outside China.

At stake in the dispute are key issues of international freedom of navigation, and China’s attempt to seize and control waters known to contain large fishing grounds in addition to untapped reserves of oil and natural gas.

China last month set off an international imbroglio with Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and the United States by declaring an air defense identification zone over the nearby East China Sea. Japan rejected the Chinese claims for the air defense zone. The Pentagon ordered two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to fly through the zone in a challenge to the Chinese claims.

Then last month a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser nearly clashed with a Chinese warship in the South China Sea near Hainan island, as the U.S. ship, the USS Cowpens, monitored Chinese naval maneuvers.

A State Department spokesman had no comment. “A Chinese embassy spokeswoman had no immediate comment.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Manila Dec. 17 that the United States wants maritime disputes in the region resolved peacefully.

“We strongly support ASEAN’s efforts with China to move quickly to conclude a code of conduct as a key to reducing the risk of accidents or miscalculation,” he said.

“In that process, we think that claimants have a responsibility to clarify their claims and to align their claims with international law.”

Kerry said the East China Sea air defense zone should not be implemented and warned China to “refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region, and particularly over the South China Sea.”

Chinese state media have reported that due to the international backlash over the East China Sea zone, China is unlikely to declare a similar air defense zone in the South China Sea.

The no-fishing zone over two thirds of the South China Sea appears to be China’s effort to bolster its maritime sovereignty claims in that sea.

Analysts say the new Chinese fishing rules are likely to trigger larger disputes among China and other Southeast Asian states.

“This is truly significant, but not unexpected,” said former State Department official and China affairs expert John Tkacik.

Tkacik said declaration of the new Hainan maritime zone appears to be part of a policy by China of gradually tightening controls in the region. Earlier, Beijing had declared the entire South China Sea as its territory under a vague “Nine-Dash Line” covering the sea that Beijing claimed as an exclusive economic zone.

“Beijing is now stepping beyond its previous vagueness on the legal status of the ‘Nine Dash Line’ to promulgating a ‘provincial measure’ to see what the push-back is,” he said.

Declaration of the new Hainan fishing zone also appears to be designed to gradually force Southeast Asian states, Japan, and the United States to accept Chinese maritime encroachment.

Vietnam and China clashed militarily several times in the past 30 years over the Paracel islands, which are included in the new zone. Chinese ships fired on two Vietnamese fishing boats in 2005, killing 9 people. Video from Vietnam posted online several years ago also showed Chinese patrol boats firing machine guns at Vietnamese fishermen near the Paracels.

Additionally, Chinese naval vessels have confronted the Philippines over its claims to the Spratly islands, also located within the new Hainan no-fishing zone.

Other disputed fisheries in the Hainan zone include the Macclesfield Bank, located east of the Parcels, and Scarborough Shoal, near the Philippines’ Luzon Island.

China also has harassed U.S. intelligence-gathering ships in the South China Sea during the past several years.

The South China Sea was the scene of a U.S.-China military confrontation Dec. 5 when a Chinese navy tank landing ship sailed and stopped some 100 yards in front of the USS Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the Chinese attempt to stop the Cowpens “irresponsible” and said the incident could have triggered a larger military showdown.

Tkacik said Southeast Asia states could challenge the new no-fishing zone through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“China is clearly flouting [the convention] with this announcement,” he said.

Beijing will likely deflect criticism of the no-fishing zone by claiming it was initiated by a regional government and thus is not part of national policy. However, China is not likely to rescind the rules and could initiate similar fishing restrictions in the East China Sea.

U.S. policymakers appear to believe that the U.S. Navy is sufficient to maintain and defend U.S. maritime rights under international law, without the U.N. Law of the Sea convention, Tkacik said, noting that while Japan has signed up to the convention, the United States has not.

“As China’s navy grows stronger—and the U.S. Navy shrinks—Washington’s options will run out in a few years,” he said.

“I don’t know that anyone in Washington, either at State or the Pentagon, is thinking this challenge out beyond a year,” he added. “It is America’s misfortune that it no longer has any real maritime strategists.”

China Orders Foreign Fishing Vessels Out of Most of the South China Sea

Source The Washington Beacon

This entry was posted in Chinese Imperialism, East Sea Dispute, International. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to China Unilaterally Announced Ownership Of South China Sea: Does It Deserve It?

  1. The Han ethnic represents by China communist regime has the tradition invasion since thousand years, it has never changed. Therefore, nowadays the international law and the super power of US hampered their ambition. But Han ethnic has never gave up, they have the new invasion strategy by using the China scholars, academics in China or Chinese overseas with high educated qualification, they are Doctor, Professor….plus the innocent intellectuals of Western state, so the waters link to China to be placed the name” CHINA SEA”, indeed China has not ownership the disputed region. The world need to remove the title of China Sea in media, map, because when the name of China seas imposed into the disputed water, that means China is the owner. Likely your house, but some body name, you have never accept, even though fighting to the end. Let’s remove the name of China seas as soon as possible.

    • Juan de la cruz says:

      What I heard, US and China are now ‘secret’allies-NUVO ORDO SECLORUM.
      Thats why US made that communist country rich by sending all US factories in China instead of other asian nation. Now, China is bullying its neighbor to create chaos thus, producing war in Asia while US with middle east amd Russia in Europe. Sad to say, uncle Sam has turned “red” because of NWO=Communism.

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