Daily Memo: China Plans More Powers in Contested Waters

Planned changes would grant Beijing the authority to block vessels if it decides international law doesn't apply.

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Chinese blockade threats. China is reportedly planning changes to its 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law. The changes hint at a potential new tactic in its efforts to assert control over contested waters in its near abroad. According to Japanese media, the amendments would grant the Transport Ministry the authority to block vessels if it determines the right of innocent passage as permitted by international law does not apply. It’s not hard to see that China is attempting to impose implicit blockades on Taiwan, in particular, but also on South China Sea littoral states or even Japan to test their willingness and capabilities to respond. Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China’s crackdown on Hong Kong apparently isn’t even close to done. Following last week’s arrests of more than 50 opposition lawmakers and pro-democracy activists, Beijing is reportedly mulling a number of additional steps, including “electoral reforms” aimed at further narrowing the space for the opposition as well as moves to allow registered voters to cast their ballots from the mainland. If China starts making full use of its powers, there’s not much anyone can do to stop it. Turkish diplomacy. The United Arab Emirates is open to a normalization deal with Turkey if […]

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