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This post was edited by abramicus at 2012-12-10 08:09|
Which province of China has a provincial office of foreign affairs? Hainan.
What did it do? It is now issuing "implementation" orders in the name of the central government regarding searching and boarding foreign vessels in areas of dispute.
Why did it do it? Apparently, the head of the office of foreign affairs of Hainan province assumed that the rules were issued after consultation with Beijing, in an interview by foreign media. So, he is not the initiator of the rules, and neither was Beijing. The reason for the ruling was because Vietnamese fishing vessels were found in the vicinity of the Paracel island which is the HQ of the Sansha administrative office of the Zhongsha (Huangyan), Xisha (Paracel), and Nansha islands (Spratleys), and the Vietnamese were flouting Chinese coast guard warnings.
What was the reason for local action? Because the central government was unable to react to the events on the ground quickly enough to avoid a literal invasion of the Paracel Island's surrounding waters by the Vietnamese vessels, and partly because the central government depended on the local provinces and fishing authorities to enforce the sovereignty of China. The rules closed the gap between central authority and local action to defend China's sovereignty, their common goal.
What was missing in the announcement? The local announcement did not mention, as it probably felt it not part of its job, the REASON for its actions, apart from implementing China's sovereignty claims, which made it look like China was expansionist rather than defensive in its sovereignty claims. The missing part of the announcement is the REASON for the local rules is due to invasion of the Paracel Island's EEZ and territorial waters by Vietnamese fishing vessels.
How could the announcement have been improved upon? Aside from mentioning the REASON NOTED ABOVE, China should mention a timeline of enforcement to show it has restraint aside from reason in its defense of its sovereignty. And that is, China should state that from today on, this rule will be implemented immediately within the vicinity of the Paracel Island, and that beginning on January 1, 2013, it will include other areas of flagrant violation as well. All such activities will take place only within the EEZ of China, and will be directly ONLY at the Vietnamese ships, because of their flagrant and repeated violations of Chinese sovereignty. Depending on the severity of the violations, this policy may be extended fully to other areas of the EEZ, if needed.
Conclusion: Any policy bearing the imprint of "foreign affairs" should be submitted to multi-facted review both locally if originated there due to conditions that the central government may not be aware of, and centrally, as the local government cannot be expected to know the potential ramifications of its actions around the world. Where useful or necessary, a REASON should be given, and evidence of RESTRAINT should be attached to actions specified as to REGION of interest, according to a TIME schedule of implementation, reserving the RIGHT to modify all the above by reason of sovereignty.
An example will be the following:
" DIRECTIVE ON ILLEGAL FISHING ACTIVITIES - WARNING TO POACHERS!
In the exercise of the right of sovereignty of the PRC, it has come to the attention of the Hainan Office of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Fishing Authority that Vietnamese fishing vessels have intruded on the seas surrounding Paracel Island and other islands belonging to the EEZ of China to engage in fishing without authorization. Despite repeated warnings, these ships have continued to violate our territorial waters and EEZ, and therefore, action will be taken to stop such activity by boarding and search from the Fishing Authority of the PRC on any fishing vessel from Vietnam. If no fishing activity or other incidental illegal activity is found, we will continue to grant passage of such ships. If fishing activity is found, ships will be impounded, crews detained, and fines assessed, in addition to other punitive actions as specified by relevant laws of poaching on Chinese waters. Ships that are boarded and searched should be reassured that the activity will be conducted professionally and courteously as is customary in all border checks, and should offer customary courtesy to our officers. Ships not engaged in fishing will not be affected by this directive. Previous directives and policies regarding piracy and other illegal actions would remain unchanged.
Ships that are not engaged in illegal fishing or other illegal activities will continue to enjoy free passage through our EEZ.
Effective date: Immediately.
Initial scope of action: Vicinity of Xisha group of islands (Paracel).
Subsequent scope of action: Other island groups as required by circumstances. "