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The South China Sea Situation

China opposes U.S. naval patrols in South China Sea
China said on Tuesday it opposed action by other countries under the pretext of freedom of navigation that undermined its sovereignty after a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group began patrols in the contested South China Sea. The U.S. navy said the strike group, including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, began "routine operations" in the South China Sea on Saturday amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway.  "China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all countries enjoy under international law," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing. "But we are consistently opposed to relevant countries threatening and damaging the sovereignty and security of littoral countries under the flag of freedom of navigation and overflight," Geng said in China's first official comment on the latest U.S. patrol since it began.

China may ban submarines from East and South China Seas
TENSIONS are set to soar in the south and east China seas as Beijing mulls a ban on foreign submarines from what it argues are its territorial waters. An international court of arbitration last year rejected Beijing’s assertion that the vast swath of water between Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines is its traditional national territory. China has been controversially building a string of artificial island fortresses to enforce its ownership over the disputed waterways and the vital sea lanes and resources they contain. The United States maintains the south and east China seas are international waters and has repeatedly demonstrated it wishes to maintain what it calls ‘freedom of navigation’ in the contested area. Now a report in Chinese state-owned media says Beijing is in the process of reviewing its 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law. The draft proposal will allow the People’s Liberation Army Navy and coast guard forces to prevent designated “safety offenders” from operating in Chinese waters — including both national waters and its exclusive economic zone. Surprisingly, it singles out ‘submersibles’. Foreign submersibles should travel on the surface, display national flags and report to Chinese maritime management administrations when they pass China’s water areas, the draft law reportedly requires.


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