China law requiring notice from vessels concerning, says top US Coast Guard exec
MANILA, Philippines—A top US Coast Guard (USCG) official on Friday (Sept. 3) expressed concern over China’s new maritime law requiring foreign vessels to give notice before entering waters covered by China’s fictitious nine-dash line claim.
Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, commander of the USCG’s Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Force West, said the law “seems to run directly counter to international agreements and norms.”
“If our reading is correct, these are very concerning, and that’s because they begin to build foundations for instability and potential conflicts if those are enforced,” McAllister said in a teleconference.
China announced that beginning Wednesday, it will require foreign vessels “to report their detailed information” in areas that are part of its territorial waters.
The law would require notice for entry of non-Chinese vessels that included submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances.
The extent of coverage of “territorial waters” was unclear, however, as China claims nearly the entire South China Sea as its territory through its nine-dash line fiction.
McAllister said USCG presence in the region was in part to show support to partners and allies facing China’s aggression and territorial expansion at sea.
He said the United States would continue to work with partners and allies with the goal of being the partner of coast guards in the region.
“Half the world’s commerce and half the world’s population are in the Indo-Pacific; and as leaders in maritime safety and security, we believe we have a role to play,” McAllister said. “And our chief role is to try to contribute to regional stability and security,” he said.
Early this week, the USCG cutter Munro held exercises with the Philippine Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The American ship arrived in the Western Pacific in mid-August and is under the command of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet in the coming months.
“We build and leverage partnerships to enhance the capability and capacity of partner nations to carry out missions that contribute to the common good, things like search-and-rescue, marine environmental protection, enforcing fisheries laws and treaties, addressing human smuggling, counter-drug, counterterrorism, disaster response, and others,” McAllister said.
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