Allowing China's interpretation of Law of the Sea to prevail could have drastic consequences on global maritime stability
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Chinese anti-access policies may be designed only to expand its jurisdiction and control over the South China Sea and other near seas, but these practices will have a global impact even if the Chinese do not intend it. A key principle of international law is that law evolves as the norms that support it evolve. Thus, if other states accept China’s view that the law of the sea allows it to prohibit foreign military activities in its EEZ, for instance, China will have introduced a new norm into the law that would shift the existing balance of coastal state and international rights at sea. Another key principle is that international law applies equally in all places. Thus, if China succeeds in shifting the norms for East Asia, other states in other regions could assert the same right. In this manner, Chinese actions have serious implications for the global norms that support security and stability at sea.