Question: China’s new maritime rules are against international order and further create disparity between countries of the region. Highlight the potential concerns for India.
Answer: China has notified new maritime rules to control the movement of vessels within its territorial waters. The whole South China Sea is claimed by China as its territory under the nine-dash map, creating problems for surrounding countries.
The maritime rules
- The rules will have implications on military as well as commercial traffic in South China Sea, East China Sea as well as Strait of Taiwan.
- Vessels carrying radioactive materials, oil, chemicals, petroleum gas and other hazardous materials will have to report immediately after entering Chinese territorial waters.
- The name of goods carried by ship and also the total weight has to be reported. In addition, the ships’ name, next port of call, call sign and estimated time will also have to be reported.
Implications of the rule on international order
- Conflict in South China Sea
The new rules are sure to create further tensions in the region. The concerns that were existing will further escalate due to the move.
- Tensions between US and China
The rules are aimed at controlling US traffic. The US considers free passage as its right and will try to violate China’s rules. This can be dangerous.
- Violation of international treaty
The UNCLOS treaty makes it mandatory for countries to allow innocent passage through EEZ. The new rule will be against the ideas specified under UNCLOS.
Concerns for India
- Indian trade route
More than 50% of India’s exports move through Malacca strait and Strait of Taiwan. India’s trade to Japan and South Korea passes through these areas.
- Commercial interests
India is involved in petroleum exploration in the South China Sea near Vietnam. The new rules will impose Chinese hegemony over resources.
Thus, China’s move of imposing new rules is bad precedent in international cooperation. More counties may start such practice in future.