A Chinese official provided details Tuesday on new regulations allowing police to check and expel foreign vessels entering areas of the disputed South China Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new rules cover only waters around islands which China has designated “baselines,” said Wu Shichun, the director of the foreign affairs office of southern island Hainan. China’s announced baselines include areas close to its mainland coast and the Paracel Islands, called the Xisha Islands by China, which are also claimed by Vietnam. The aim of the rules is to control Vietnamese fishing vessels in the seas near Yongxing Island in the Paracels, Wu said. The rules, revealed in state media last week, raised alarm among China’s neighbors, as they appeared initially to apply to all waters in the South China Sea. Vietnam said the measures violated its sovereignty and that it was deploying patrols to protect its fishing vessels, a separate report said.
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