The ambiguity of China’s claims in the South China Sea has long been the main obstacle to resolving or even managing the jurisdictional disputes there. Despite of repeated requests from rival claimants, as well as the US, China has declined to clarify exactly what it claims and why.
Its infamous nine-dash line encompassing most of the South China Sea is open to several interpretations.
Persistent questioners may want to be careful what they wish for; they may not like the answer. Indeed, the recent “revision” of Hainan’s fisheries regulations, which became effective on January 1, may have brought us closer to a clarification of China’s claims.