China's excessive claims are a threat to the global commons and China's own role
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In attempting to increase its control and extend its authority throughout the South China Sea by applying domestic legislation to international waters, China has created a con- flict both with its neighbors and with UNCLOS. China’s claims are not just a threat to navigation in the South China Sea. They are a threat to the global commons and to in- ternational law that was developed to protect the rights of both coastal states and distant-waters states in those regions.
China’s efforts to enclose the local commons are short-sighted. It is growing into the role of a global power with its own interests in access and use of the global commons. In fact, the balance between coastal interests and distant- water concerns may now be in the process of tipping toward the latter. Gail Harris, writing in The Diplomat, stated: “Chinese strategists now also believe in order to protect their economic development they must maintain the security of their sea lines of communications, something that requires a navy capable of operating well beyond coastal waters.”9