China seeks Revision in Maritime Laws for Getting More Control on Foreign Submersibles
China is seriously mulling to bring major changes in its maritime regulations in a bid to enhance the maritime safety. As per the new revisions, foreign submersibles will now have to travel on surface and have to report their movements to authorities when travelling on Chinese waters.
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These new revisions are still in draft stage and none of the rules directly mentions the South China Sea dispute, according to China News Service.
"Foreign submersibles, passing though territorial waters of the People's Republic of China, should travel on the surface, raise their national flag, and report to Chinese maritime management administrations," the news agency cited the draft revision as saying.
The new rules will also allow Chinese maritime authorities to stop foreign ships if they deem any ships to be suspicious or find their activities harmful for maritime safety, the China News Service reported.
As of December last year, Chinese authorities caught a U.S underwater drone in the disputed South China Sea, sparking a diplomatic raw between the two nations. However, the issue was resolved within few weeks after the Chinese authorities agreed to handover the drone to U.S.
There is no information confirming whether there is any possible link between the new proposed rules and the U.S drone issue. The Chinese news agency reported that the new revisions in the law are fully compliant with U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China's sensitivity about maritime safety is largely motivated by nationalistic desire to safeguard its territory in the contagious South China Sea region. Beijing stakes claim over the entire maritime territory, but this claim is challenged by other smaller neighbours like Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brunei.