ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Philippines mounts protest vs China anew
Publication Date : 15-01-2014
The Philippines on Tuesday again called on China to respect international law and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after Beijing insisted it will regulate fishing in the disputed South China Sea despite protests by neighboring countries.
China’s southern Hainan province has passed a law, which took effect this month, requiring foreign fishermen to seek Beijing’s approval to operate in the South China Sea—which includes parts of the Philippines’ EEZ in the West Philippine Sea—which Beijing claims under its exclusive jurisdiction.
Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, the foreign affairs spokesman, on Tuesday said that the Philippines had asked China to clarify the Hainan edict and was told by Beijing that it was “an implementation of China’s fisheries law and that the region is under Chinese jurisdiction.”
“The DFA reiterates its strong protest which we have made on Jun. 28, 2012, since the jurisdiction of Hainan province included Philippine territories and impinges on the Philippine EEZ,” Hernandez said.
“The Philippines calls on China to conform with international law particularly Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” he said.
The Philippines, through the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, last week sought China’s explanation for its new regulation, which requires foreign vessels to seek permission before fishing or exploring South China Sea.
The measure has prompted expressions of concern from several nations, citing how the new Chinese law threatens freedom of navigation and violates international law.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, putting it at odds with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, which also claim parts of the busy waters as their territory.
The United States has criticised the Chinese regulation as “provocative and potentially dangerous.”
China is implementing the fishing regulation even as the Philippines is pursuing an arbitration bid before the United Nations to nullify Beijing’s “excessive” nine-dash line claim encompassing almost all of the South China Sea, and to halt Chinese’ incursions into the country’s EEZ.
Beijing has shunned the arbitration process invoking “indisputable” sovereignty over the waters.
The Philippines also has standing protest against the establishment of Sansha City, a prefecture of Hainan province established in 2012 to exercise administrative powers over the disputed Paracel Islands, Macclesfied Bank and the Spratly Islands.