China is defending a move by Hainan province to require all foreign fishing vessels to seek permission before entering disputed waters in the South China Sea that are claimed by Beijing.China is trying to provoke a conflict with neighboring states. Either Chinese leaders believe that the United States won't involve itself, or that China can quickly block any attempt by the U.S. to intervene.
The new rule, which went into effect on January 1, covers more than half the 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying Thursday said the move is unremarkable.
Update: The Telegraph has an op-ed summarizing the tensions between China and surrounding nations, with the now obligatory comparison to 1914 Europe.