MANILA, Philippines – China’s new territorial law could mean disaster if it is implemented in the encompassed territories in the nation’s nine-dash line.
Defense analyst Rommel Banlaoi said that if China chooses to implement their new law in their claimed areas inside the dotted lines, which covers 80 percent of the South China Sea, the nation could use its military in enforcing the law.
“It’s problematic since there are so many claimants in the disputed areas that the nine-dash line has surrounded,” Banlaoi said Monday at Camp Aguinaldo.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, China can use military force in its coastal territories near Hainan province where they suspect tourism facilities set up in the area are used for spying purposes.
SCMP added the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress has enacted the Law of People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Military Installations, which would be implemented on August 1.
Countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia also lay claim to territories in the South China Sea.
Banlaoi added the new law is to strengthen a previous one, of the same name, which was implemented in 1990.
“With those small steps, it could really alter the status quo in the South China Sea,” Banlaoi said.
Also, if Beijing implements the law in the South China Sea and the tension there escalates to military actions, not only would it affect the claimant-countries, it would also dent the “whole world.”
“That’s the epicenter of maritime traffic going to the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, around 50 percent of sea vessels pass through that area,” Banlaoi said.
He added that China should identify what the restricted areas that they mentioned in the law, as there are no clear definitions of the term.
Still, Banlaoi said that China would practice caution in implementing the new law and that it would only stay in its 12 nautical mile coastal zones.
He added that there would be no cause for alarm as the law’s text did not mention the South China Sea.
“If we interpret the media reports from China, they are really being cautious in mentioning other countries, and mentioning the South China Sea,” Banlaoi said.
He added that China is free to pass any legislation that would protect its sovereignty, as long as they practice it in their own waters.
Business as usual
Banlaoi said fishermen that they should still go to their work normally even with the implementation of China’s new law.
“It’s business as usual for them,” Banlaoi said. “They have rights inside our own waters to fish especially inside our 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.”