We have seen the Bill Board in Private properties.
” Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted”
By A Nation?
That Too in Open Sea?
That’s China for you .China has put up such a Board in South China Sea.
We have A country’s Nationals being shot dead in its sea by another Nation with the former keeping quiet!
“The new maritime regulations passed by the Hainan Peoples Congress to board, inspect, seize, deport or force ships to alter course out of areas within China’s claimed territorial waters as a part of the “Coastal Ship Frontier Defence of Law and Order Management Ordinance” signals a stepping up of the Chinese resolve to assert claims on disputed maritime zones. The regulation mentions that it applies to ships that enter the waters under the jurisdiction of Hainan ‘illegally’, specifically territorial waters. The regulations are to come into effect from 01 January 2013. Prima facie, the regulation appears to be applicable to the territorial seas. The ordinance mentions six occasions in which the Public Security Border Defence Authority could take action:
- Stopping or anchoring.
- Exit and entry to ports without approval or inspection.
- Landing on Islands.
- Destruction of coastal defence/production/living facilities on the Islands.
- Implementation of promotional activities (could be equated to propaganda) that infringe national sovereignty.
- Violation of other laws and regulations that threaten the coastal border public security management.
These ‘occasions’ apparently are intended to cover the passage of ships that are not ‘innocent’, hence the use of the word ‘illegally’ in the regulation. UNCLOS, as per Articles 17 to 19, covers the right of innocent passage. Interestingly all the occasions as per the new Chinese regulation are covered in Article 19 of UNCLOS. And according to Article 21 of UNCLOS, coastal states may adopt laws and regulations, in conformity with the provisions of UNCLOS and other rules of international law, relating to innocent passage through the territorial sea. Further, as per Article 25, the coastal state may take the necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage that is not innocent. These aspects, in keeping with the letter and spirit of UNCLOS, are, however, deemed applicable to ‘undisputed’ areas that are internationally recognised as belonging to the coastal state. Therefore, the laying down of such occasions raises questions about China’s intent especially as it comes on the heels of a series of events in the recent past.