Home   »   China's New Territorial Sea Baseline in...   »   China's New Territorial Sea Baseline in...

China’s New Territorial Sea Baseline in Gulf of Tonkin Raises Concerns

China recently announced a new territorial sea baseline in the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin, shared with Vietnam, sparking concerns about potential impacts on existing agreements and regional stability.

China’s Announcement

  1. Introduction of New Baseline: China disclosed seven base points forming the baseline for its sovereignty claims in the Gulf of Tonkin, also known as Beibu Gulf.

  2. Historical Significance: The Gulf of Tonkin has been a historically significant area for maritime demarcation between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
  3. Previous Agreements: Despite a 2004 agreement delineating boundaries, maritime disputes persisted due to ambiguity, prompting China’s fresh delineation.
  4. Assurance of No Harm: China’s Foreign Ministry assured that the new baseline wouldn’t harm Vietnam’s interests or those of other nations.

Rationale Behind China’s Decision

  1. National Sovereignty: China views the delineation as exercising national sovereignty and jurisdiction.

  2. Maritime Cooperation: Beijing claims the baseline will foster international maritime cooperation and benefit the global maritime industry.
  3. Management and Usage: Different management regulations necessitate clearly defined baselines for standardized use of the sea by coastal provinces and regions.
  4. Economic Development: China sees the delineation as supporting economic development in provinces and regions along the northern Beibu Gulf.

Understanding Territorial Sea Baseline

  1. Foundation for Maritime Claims: The baseline establishes maritime jurisdiction claims and signifies the outermost boundary of national land territory.

  2. UNCLOS Framework: According to UNCLOS, coastal states are entitled to territorial seas, exclusive economic zones, and continental shelves.
  3. Beibu Gulf Situation: The semi-enclosed bay presents overlapping claims by China and Vietnam due to its geography.
  4. Previous Announcements: China had previously announced territorial sea baselines for other regions, completing its disclosures with this recent delineation.

Concerns and Implications

  1. Existing Agreements: Concerns arise regarding potential impacts on the 2000 demarcation agreement between Vietnam and China.

  2. Economic Interests: Vietnam’s economic interests could be affected if China pushes for renegotiation of agreements.

China's New Territorial Sea Baseline in Gulf of Tonkin Raises Concerns_4.1

China's New Territorial Sea Baseline in Gulf of Tonkin Raises Concerns_5.1