Beijing – As the world’s attention shifted to the situation in Afghanistan, China has taken steps to strengthen its grip on the South China Sea. China has notified new maritime rules to be effective from 1st September for foreign military and cargo vessels, making it mandatory to report the cargo details upon their entry into Chinese waters. This decision could potentially escalate fresh tensions in the South China Sea.
China has refused to accept the judgement of the International Court of Justice. China claims sovereignty over 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea. China also claims right on territorial waters of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. For this, China has imposed ‘Nine-Dash Line’ on these countries, which is essential to strengthening its claim on most of the South China Sea.
China’s is pursuing efforts to get the international community to recognise its Nine-Dash Line. The new regulations, announced by China’s Maritime Safety Administration on Sunday, extend the same strategy. According to the new rules, it is mandatory to report the details of the cargos for carrying radioactive materials, bulk oil, chemicals, and a host of other supplies upon their entry into Chinese waters.
According to Chinese analysts, the urgent implementation of these maritime rules is needed to ensure China’s maritime security. The new rules allow Chinese authorities to impose restrictions on the movement of foreign vessels, claims Chinese military analyst Song Zhongping. Chinese media suggested that the new rules would restrict drone spying in the South China Sea region.
Last week, two US warships had sailed through Taiwan’s territorial waters. Infuriated with this, China threatened the United States. Two days later, China announced new rules to strengthen its grip on the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, with the recent developments in Afghanistan, the US allies seem to have lost confidence in the Biden administration. Retired US and British military officials and analysts have warned that China can take advantage of this situation. China has recently threatened Taiwan, citing US withdrawal from Afghanistan. China has stepped up its aggression in the South China Sea; the Western countries are taking cognisance of this. Along with European countries, India is also preparing to challenge Chinese dominance. A few days ago, a task force of the Indian Navy was deployed in this maritime zone.