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‘Ticking time bomb!’ Beijing stokes war tensions with South China Sea maritime law

Bill Hayton discusses economic impact of South China Sea tensions

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On September 1, China introduced the Maritime Traffic Safety Law which requires all foreign vessels entering Chinese waters to carry permits and inform maritime authorities of their entry. Foreign vessels will have to report their call signs and cargo before entering China’s territorial sea.

The notice says: “In case the vessel fails to report as required. The maritime administration will deal with it according to relevant laws, regulations, rules and provisions.”

China’s Maritime Safety Administration admitted that the new regulations apply to any foreign vessels deemed to “endanger the maritime traffic safety of China”.

This includes nuclear vessels or ships carrying radioactive or harmful substances.

Chinese experts told Global Times, the new measures are to protect national security at sea.

Su Tzu-Yun, Taiwan’s Director of the Division of Defense Strategy and Resources at the Institute of National Defense and Strategic Research admitted Beijing considers China’s maritime jurisdiction to encompass more than just its own waters.

Su claimed this would also include the 12 nautical miles of the sea around artificial reefs in the South China Sea.

Su claims this gives Beijing an excuse to respond to navigation exercises carried out by other nations.

China has overlapping claims of territory with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

According to Taipei Times, China’s new regulations to increase regulation on foreign ships is creating a fear of a “ticking time bomb” for conflict in the South China Sea.

The new law comes a month after Beijing blasted a $750 million (£540million) arms sale between the US and Taiwan as a “vicious provocation”.

The new US-Taiwan arms sale included 40 self-propelled artillery units.

China’s foreign ministry believes the US is “causing serious damage to China-US relations” by “sending a wrong signal to Taiwanese independence forces.”

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The US deal is part of America’s plan to contain what the US sees as Chinese expansionism.

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