China has adopted prior notification requirements that are at odds with UNCLOS and U.S. policy
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Dating back to its 1958 Declaration on the Territorial Sea until present day, China maintains the right to restrict the authority of foreign naval vessels to enter its territorial seas. In the 1958 declaration the Chinese government stated, "No foreign vessels for military use and no foreign aircraft may enter China's territorial sea and the air space above it without the permission of the Government of the People's Republic of China."14 In two separate pieces of domestic legislation: the Maritime Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China,15 and the Law on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone,16 the Chinese restated and reaffirmed their requirement on foreign military vessels to obtain the permission of the government prior to entry into its territorial seas. The Chinese position, however, is at odds with the Convention and U.S. interpretation of UNCLOS. Although UNCLOS places restrictions on ships exercising their right of transit passage, the treaty does not place any requirement for military vessels to obtain permission to enter the territorial seas of the coastal state.17 The United States, therefore, does not recognize China's prior notification requirement.