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China's New Maritime Rule 'Very Concerning' says U.S. Coast Guard Chief

China has been emboldened by U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and how it was done.

Updated: September 6, 2021 - 7:10pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Vice Adm. Michael McAllister, the U.S. Coast Guard's top commander in the Pacific, recently brought attention to a new maritime reporting requirement mandated by China, calling it "very concerning" and saying that it violated "international agreements and norms."

McAllister said that if China chose to enforce the requirement, it would "begin to build foundations for instability and potential conflicts." He expressed his concerns during a press briefing on Sept. 3, according to The Epoch Times

The requirement is that foreign vessels — including submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials, and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas, and other toxic and harmful substances — entering what China considers its territorial waters, would be required to provide detailed information to China's Maritime Safety Administration. That information includes the name of the ship, the call sign, the last and next port call and their current position. This reporting requirement went into effect on Sept. 1, according to the outlet. 

Under this new law, Beijing could also force these foreign vessels to leave, if China deems that they "threaten the safety of the People's Republic of China's internal or territorial waters."

The Pentagon and the State Department have criticized the new law, and said that it would pose "a serious threat to the freedoms of the seas."

"The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows," the Pentagon's Lt. Col. Martin Meiners told the Stars and Stripes

"China is once again testing the international community to gauge how it will react to the enactment of yet another maritime law that exceeds the permissible jurisdictional limits of international law, as reflected in UNCLOS," stated Raul A.F. Pedrozo, professor of international law in the Stockton Center for International Law at U.S. Naval War College, in his analysis.

This is just one more example of China's aggression in asserting claims over the South China Sea, which they have continued even though "The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2016 that Beijing's territorial claims were inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."

With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is considered a bonanza for China in terms of rare earth minerals and strategic value — and as importantly how the U.S. withdrew and the concern that has caused America's allies — China's aggression is all the more concerning.

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