By Julian Ku
Lawfare Blog, March 25, 2015
China opened up a new front for South China Sea conflict this week when one of its coast guard vessels collided with an Indonesian coast guard ship in the process of towing a captured Chinese vessel alleged to be engaged in illegal fishing. In a remarkably direct and frank statement, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister protested China’s violation of the “sovereignty of Indonesia’s territorial waters.” China responded by saying its vessel did not “enter Indonesia’s territorial waters.”
So is this just a factual disagreement about the location of the incident? Hardly. In fact, this whole episode highlights the troubling nature of China’s controversial “Nine Dash Line” claim, revealing that this claim is essentially a gigantic Exclusive Economic Zone with sovereignty over living—and maybe non-living—resources in 80 percent of the South China Sea.
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