Draft Maritime Law Revisions Say China May Bar Foreign Ships from Passing through Its Waters

Manila Bulletin, February 16, 2017 | Go to article overview

Draft Maritime Law Revisions Say China May Bar Foreign Ships from Passing through Its Waters


By People's Daily

China is to revise its 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law, which would allow the relevant authorities to bar some foreign ships from passing through Chinese territorial waters.

The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council announced Tuesday it is soliciting public opinions on the revisions.

The draft would empower maritime authorities to prevent foreign ships from entering Chinese waters if it is decided that the ships may harm traffic safety and order.

The draft revisions stipulate that authorities will be able to designate specific areas and temporarily bar foreign ships from passing through those areas according to their own assessment of maritime traffic safety.

The revisions are based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and Chinese laws on the sea, adjacent areas and exclusive economic zones, the office said.

Wang Xiaopeng, a maritime border expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the revisions will provide legal support for China to safeguard its maritime rights.

"As a sovereign State and the biggest coastal State in, for example, the South China Sea, China is entitled to adjust its maritime laws as needed, which will also promote peace and stable development in the waters," Wang said.

Yang Cuibai, a professor with the School of Law at Sichuan University, agreed, saying that "the revisions will strengthen China's management over territorial waters in a new era when the country's communication and trade with foreign countries in the waters have sharply increased. …

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