Chinese warships’ activities up near Korean Peninsula: Lawmaker

A Chinese coastguard vessel on patrol in the South China Sea. Photo by Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Oct 16, 2020, Yonhap. Activities by Chinese warships in waters near the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent years, military data showed Friday, The Korea Herald reported.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff data released by Rep. Kim Min-ki of the ruling Democratic Party, Chinese war vessels crossed the tentative median line in South Korea’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around 290 times last year.

An EEZ is a sea zone that a country has special rights over regarding the exploration and use of marine resources. It stretches out to 200 nautical miles from the shore.

Seoul has demanded that the EEZs of South Korea and China be demarcated by drawing a median line between the two countries’ overlapping areas. But Beijing has demanded that a proportional EEZ line be drawn by taking into account coastlines and the population along them.

Chinese warships crossing the median line accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total 370 tallied during the cited period, including 50 and 30 times by Russian and Japanese warships, respectively.

The figure has been on the rise from some 110 times in 2016 and 2017 to 230 in 2018. As of August this year, the comparable figure stood at 170.

“The frequency of Chinese warships crossing over the line in the EEZ is increasing,” the lawmaker said, urging the military to “promptly and firmly” respond in case of any incidents violating its territorial waters.

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