China’s New Maritime Rules
- September 1, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
China’s New Maritime Rules
Subject – IR
Context – China’s new maritime law might spike tensions in South China Sea.
- In a bid to regulate foreign ships, China notified new maritime rules warranting vessels carrying radioactive materials, bulk oil, chemicals and a host of other supplies to report the details of the cargos upon their entry into Chinese waters.
- Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
- China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- 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.
- In addition to these types of vessels, vessels that may endanger the maritime traffic safety of China prescribed by laws should also follow the new regulation which will take effect from September 1.
- Those vessels should report the name, call sign, current position and next port of call and estimated time of arrival. The name of shipborne dangerous goods and cargo deadweight are also required in the report.
South China Sea
- The South China Sea, which lies between China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, is of great economic importance globally.
- Nearly one-third of the world’s shipping passes through its lanes, and the waters house numerous important fisheries.
- The waters around China are hotly contested. Under a “nine-dash line” map, China claims most of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory. This claim is contested by its neighbours in the region and by the United States, which, though it has no claim in the Sea, backs the smaller nations in the fight against Chinese overreach.
For more information on SCS, please refer this.
South China Sea and India
- The South China Sea plays a vital role in facilitating India’s trade with Japan, South Korea and ASEAN countries, and assists in the efficient procurement of energy supplies.
- In fact, the Ministry of External Affairs estimates that more than 55% of India’s trade passes through the South China Sea and Malacca Straits.
- India is also involved in oil and gas exploration in offshore blocks in the margins of the Sea, which has led to standoffs with Chinese authorities.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- Currently, international maritime activities are governed by an international agreement called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of which China, India and over a hundred other countries are signatories (the US, significantly, is not).
- Accordingly, states have the right to implement territorial rights up to 12 nautical miles into the sea.
- The UNCLOS also states that all vessels have the right of “innocent passage” through this region – China’s new law violates this.
For more information on UNCLOS, please refer this.