Chinese legal draft could pose challenge for Navy in South China Sea
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — China is considering maritime law changes that could clash with U.S. Navy views on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and other international waters.
Revisions to China’s 1984 Maritime and Traffic Safety Law would require foreign ships to request permission to enter “China’s waters,” according to Global Times, an English-language daily newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party.
The draft also requires submarines and other submersible boats to surface, fly a flag and report to Chinese authorities, the newspaper reported.
The revisions to the law, announced Tuesday, are still in their formative stages and wouldn’t take effect until 2020, Global Times reported.
The U.S. does not recognize any nation’s right to be notified in advance if a ship is transiting through territorial waters under what international law terms “innocent passage.” The Navy conducts freedom-of-navigation missions throughout the world to uphold the principle.
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