(NationalSentinel) The Chinese government appears to be moving early to test the Trump administration, as the White House finds itself embroiled in a largely manufactured “RussianÂ scandal”Â in which there are lots of insinuations but no actual proof of wrongdoing.
As reported byÂ China People’s Daily, a state-run media organ like all media in China, said the government’s rubber-stamp legislative body was considering revisions to a 1984 law that “wouldÂ allowÂ theÂ relevantauthoritiesÂ toÂ barÂ someÂ foreignÂ shipsÂ fromÂ passingÂ throughÂ ChineseÂ territorialÂ waters.”
TheÂ draftÂ wouldÂ empowerÂ maritimeÂ authoritiesÂ toÂ preventÂ foreignÂ shipsÂ fromÂ enteringChineseÂ watersÂ ifÂ itÂ isÂ decidedÂ thatÂ theÂ shipsÂ mayÂ harmÂ trafficÂ safetyÂ andÂ order.
TheÂ draftÂ revisionsÂ stipulateÂ thatÂ authoritiesÂ willÂ beÂ ableÂ toÂ designateÂ specificÂ areasÂ andtemporarilyÂ barÂ foreignÂ shipsÂ fromÂ passingÂ throughÂ thoseÂ areasÂ accordingÂ toÂ theirÂ ownassessmentÂ ofÂ maritimeÂ trafficÂ safety.
TheÂ revisionsÂ areÂ basedÂ onÂ theÂ UNÂ ConventionÂ onÂ theÂ LawÂ ofÂ theÂ SeaÂ andÂ ChineseÂ lawsÂ ontheÂ sea,Â adjacentÂ areasÂ andÂ exclusiveÂ economicÂ zones,Â theÂ officeÂ said.
WangÂ Xiaopeng,Â aÂ maritimeÂ borderÂ expertÂ atÂ theÂ ChineseÂ AcademyÂ ofÂ SocialÂ Sciences,Â toldtheÂ GlobalÂ TimesÂ onÂ WednesdayÂ thatÂ theÂ revisionsÂ willÂ provideÂ legalÂ supportÂ forÂ ChinaÂ tosafeguardÂ itsÂ maritimeÂ rights.
“AsÂ aÂ sovereignÂ StateÂ andÂ theÂ biggestÂ coastalÂ StateÂ in,Â forÂ example,Â theÂ SouthÂ ChinaÂ Sea,Â ChinaÂ isÂ entitledÂ toÂ adjustÂ itsÂ maritimeÂ lawsÂ asÂ needed,Â whichÂ willÂ alsoÂ promoteÂ peaceÂ andstableÂ developmentÂ inÂ theÂ waters,”Â WangÂ said.
Another expert,Â YangÂ Cuibai,Â aÂ professorÂ withÂ theÂ SchoolÂ ofÂ LawÂ atÂ SichuanÂ University,Â agreed,Â sayingÂ that”theÂ revisionsÂ willÂ strengthenÂ China’sÂ managementÂ overÂ territorialÂ watersÂ inÂ aÂ newÂ erawhenÂ theÂ country’sÂ communicationÂ andÂ tradeÂ withÂ foreignÂ countriesÂ inÂ theÂ watersÂ havesharplyÂ increased.”
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He added that China should move to “establishÂ theÂ legalÂ orderÂ inÂ theÂ YellowÂ Sea,Â theÂ EastÂ ChinaÂ SeaÂ andÂ theÂ SouthÂ ChinaÂ Sea.”
Under international maritime law, countries have a 200-nautical mile Economic Exclusion Zone off their coasts, in which they haveÂ exclusive economic development rights. ButÂ territorial rights under international maritime law only extend 12 nm; China is attempting to claim territorial rights toÂ all of these bodies of water.
The South China Sea alone sees about $5 trillion worth of commerce pass through each year, much of it bound for the West. It is most definitely in the United States’ national interests, as well as several countries the world over, to ensure that one nation does notÂ try to militarize and control the entire region, like China is attempting to do.
Early diplomatic and national security challenge for Trump, but one he can’t afford to ignore.