South China Sea: Philippines complains of Chinese fishing ban and ‘harassment’ at sea
- Accuses Chinese vessels of disrupting a marine scientific research mission and energy exploration activities in Philippines’ exclusive economic zone
- Denounces China’s imposition of a fishing moratorium aimed at regenerating fish stocks – annual ban includes waters inside EEZs of The Philippines and Vietnam
In another statement, it denounced China’s imposition of a fishing moratorium aimed at regenerating fish stocks, an annual ban that includes waters inside the EEZs of Vietnam and the Philippines.
China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Philippine statements, which referred to developments in March and April.
The foreign ministry said the coastguard’s actions were “not consistent with innocent passage and are clear violations of the Philippine maritime jurisdiction”.
It did not say why it waited more than a month to comment on the incidents.
Marcos, whose May 9 election win analysts see as more favourable to Beijing than Washington, last week said he would defend sovereign territory and stand up to Chinese encroachment, in his strongest comments yet on foreign policy.
Last year The Philippines lodged a protest over China’s continuing “illegal presence and activities” near an island in the South China Sea held by the Southeast Asian nation.
Manila lodged the diplomatic protest over the “incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels” in the vicinity of Thitu island. It demanded that China withdraw the vessels.
Tensions between Manila and Beijing escalated over the months-long presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in the Philippine 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
The Philippines said it believed the vessels were manned by militias, while Beijing said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.
China built a mini-city with runways, hangars and surface-to-air-missiles in the Subi Reef about 25km from Thitu.
An international tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea, where about US$3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have competing claims to various islands and features in the area.