China apprehending boats weekly in disputed South China Sea

BEIJING Thu Mar 6, 2014 8:58am EST

1 of 2. An aerial photo shows Chinese marine surveillance ships Haijian No. 49 (front) and Haijian No.50 cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China are seen in the background, in this file photo taken by Kyodo on April 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese patrols enforcing disputed new fishing rules in the South China Sea are apprehending foreign boats on a weekly basis, Communist Party officials said on Thursday.

In comments that provide the first window on how China is enforcing new rules criticized by Washington, the party secretary for Hainan Island said Chinese patrols attempted to peacefully negotiate with vessels that initially ignored warnings to leave Chinese waters.

"First of all we would try to dissuade them, tell them to get out, this is our area, and then we negotiate and dissuade as much as possible," Luo Baoming, party secretary for Hainan province, said on Thursday.

The Philippines and Vietnam have accused Chinese patrol vessels of firing water cannon and using aggressive means to intimidate and threaten its fishermen near disputed areas.

Luo said that authorities based in Sansha city on Woody Island, which administers the mostly uninhabited Paracel islands, were regularly dealing with fishing vessels entering their waters. Also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, Vietnamese fishermen routinely attempt to fish the Paracels, despite hundreds being captured in past campaigns in what Vietnam describes as its legal and sovereign fishing grounds.

Luo did not provide specific numbers but said: "There's something like this happening if not every day then at least once a week, and the majority are dealt with by negotiating and persuasion."

New rules issued by Hainan this year, which say foreign fishing boats need permission to enter waters under its jurisdiction, which essentially covers much of the South China Sea, alarmed the region, already concerned by China's more assertive moves to assert its sovereignty.

The fishing rules follow China's creation of a controversial air defense identification zone in late November above the East China Sea in an area that includes islands at the heart of a bitter territorial row with Japan.

Ambiguity surrounding the rules - and their future enforcement - have puzzled a nervous region since they were introduced on January 1, apparently stretching into international waters.

Hainan, which juts into the South China Sea from the country's southern tip, says it governs 2 million square kilometers of water, according to local government data issued in 2011. The South China Sea is an estimated 3.5 million square km in size.

Beijing claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

(Reporting by Natalie Thomas; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Megha Rajagopalan, Editing by Greg Torode and Ralph Boulton)

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Comments (2)
sabrefencer wrote:
Hmm …Chinese patrol boats, not allowing anyone to fish these waters, but Chinese….. seems to me, that this is no longer in dispute. China has taken control….

Mar 06, 2014 9:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
FRPSR wrote:
China has only set herself up for a much greater disappointments . The virtue of shifting her problems from internally created central committee diktat , to asserting a fledgling strength against tiny satellite nations , is only a momentary distraction .
China’s real problems are not how she bullies tiny nations , but how she lost control of civic affairs with the power of a unilateral voice in a one party state .
If you don’t believe China has lost control of events , consider these persistent headlines .
The issues from strangers cutting Han throats in Western China , to wealthy business peoples lust for money luring them into poisoning food for cash , and officially sanctioned ongoing state environmental disasters , are not distinguished by their ferocity alone .
Frightening indeed , but only a prelude for the real jaw dropping head scratchers , lined up and waiting in store .
The jingoistic drumming of the peoples pride in an environment which places China not merely against common sense , history , and law , but an entire region of the world needing either to be bribed or bullied . More than a liar needing to recall things to keep their stories straight , China will need a dynamic list of whose being bribed to who is being bullied , organizing the who , what , why , where , and when . Being as simple as it has been , China’s decision , up to and including being murderously committed to trivializing sovereign nations . Good luck …
Immature childish tantrums from a giant whose snarling pet N Korea gets its insecurity and rectitude from being China’s little brother , has as good a chance at annihilation than any other thing else that pops into mind .
Replacing Israel as the worlds worst bad actor , and national disgrace won’t happen overnight . What ever happens may be just because both nations are committed to their “historical” fantasies .
A shared disaster may be their best , and only hope .

Mar 09, 2014 11:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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