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  • » 11/29/2012, 00.00

    CHINA - PHILIPPINES - VIETNAM

    South China Sea, China will allow the boarding of foreign ships



    After new passports with distorted maps, the communist regime announced that the Coast Guard of Hainan province can dock and control vessels for non-Chinese "who illegally enter territorial waters." The reference is to the maritime areas that Beijing is trying to snatch unilaterally from other governments in the area.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese central government will allow the police in the southern province of Hainan to board and control foreign ships that enter into what Beijing (one-sidedly) now regards as its own territorial waters. The reference is to the disputed areas in the South China Sea, which China is trying to snatch from the governments of Taiwan, Vietnam, India, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.

    The new law will go into effect January 1. According to the China Daily - a government newspaper - the rules will allow the coast guard of the province (consisting of a group of islands) to "board and make an inspection of those foreign ships illegally entering Chinese waters. Entering those waters without permission, damaging coastal defensive positions and threatening national security are illegal acts."

    The decision comes just days after the new, contested national passports. In total silence by the media and the government, the Communist regime has in fact made a new document for travel abroad: the passport map includes territorial portions that follow the so-called "cow's tongue" which annexes - unilaterally by the Beijing authorities - the Spratly Islands, as well as the island of Taiwan and part of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and portions of the Himalayan region.

    Beijing says that the map "is not aimed at any nation in particular" and is trying to tone down the controversy, which is increasingly taking on the scope of an international diplomatic row. The Indian government has already branded the initiative as "unacceptable"; in response, the customs officials in New Delhi grant entry into the Indian territory by stamping onto passports a "local version" of the map, which also includes areas at the center of contention.

    Taiwan, too, is not hiding its fears because, as Taipei explains, affixing a visa to the passport implies the tacit acceptance of the map imprinted there. The two governments have officially protested through diplomatic channels. Manila has joined them; yesterday it said that it "had no intention of stamping" the new passports: "If we did," said the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, "it would be as if we accepted the Chinese territorial claims."

    Military tensions are being added to the diplomatic ones. Yesterday, the Chinese naval fleet stationed in the eastern part of the country crossed the waters of the Strait of Miyako - in Japan - to reach some Russian ships engaged in military exercises in the Pacific. Although Beijing had announced the beginning of the exercises, they are seen as an attempt to intimidate its neighbours. 

     

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    See also

    07/05/2010 CHINA – JAPAN – VIETNAM
    Tokyo and Hanoi to challenge Chinese sovereignty in the East/South East China Sea
    Japan lodges a formal protest with China because one of ships threateningly approached a Japanese vessel. Vietnam complains about a unilateral fishing ban imposed by China in a disputed area also claimed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

    15/06/2011 CHINA – VIETNAM
    South China Sea: Beijing excludes the use of force, but warns US
    Beijing tries to reduce tensions with Vietnam and the Philippines, urging them “to do more” for “peace and stability”. It also wants issues to be settled through bilateral talks. Hanoi prefers instead a “multilateral” approach, whilst Manila calls for US help. China warns that “internationalising” the issue will make matters worse.

    13/06/2011 VIETNAM – CHINA
    South China Sea: Beijing slams Vietnamese naval drill
    Vietnam started a nine-hour live naval drill in the morning; a second one is set for the evening. No missiles will be used. For Hanoi, the action is a routine annual exercise, but Chinese media see it as a military challenge against Beijing. In Vietnam, more protests are held against Chinese claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

    17/06/2011 CHINA
    South China Sea: Beijing sending patrol ship
    Beijing plans to boost its naval presence in the area over the coming years. Tensions are growing because other stakeholders are not giving up their claims.

    04/08/2011 ASIA
    South China Sea: Beijing close to a deal with Hanoi but far from Manila
    China and Vietnam agree to “peaceful measures” to settle their border dispute through cooperation and bilateral relations. Tensions between Beijing and Manila are up as China threatens the Philippines after Manila builds a military structure on one of the Spratly Islands.



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