China is defending a move by Hainan province to require all foreign fishing vessels to seek permission before entering disputed waters in the South China Sea that are claimed by Beijing.
The new rule, which went into effect on January 1, covers more than half the 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying Thursday said the move is unremarkable.
He said, “China is a maritime nation, so it is totally normal and part of the routine for Chinese provinces bordering the sea to formulate regional rules according to the national law to regulate conservation, management and utilization of maritime biological resources.”
Su Hao, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, says the new rules should not be seen as a major change.