The Philippines says the fishing moratorium between May 1 and August 16 imposed by China since 1999 does not apply to Filipino fishermen.
The Philippines has rejected an annual summer fishing ban imposed by China in the disputed South China Sea and encouraged its boats to continue fishing in the country’s territorial waters, as Manila reported on Wednesday the latest incursions by Chinese vessels into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). .
The fishing moratorium imposed by China since 1999 runs from May 1 to August 16 and covers areas of the South China Sea as well as other waters off China.
“This fishing ban does not apply to our fishermen,” the Philippine South China Sea task force said in a statement on Tuesday.
The task force opposed China’s imposition of the ban on areas of Philippine territory and jurisdiction, adding that “our fishermen are encouraged to go fishing in our waters in the WPS (Sea of the Western Philippines). “
The Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Manila, which designates the area of its EEZ as the West Philippine Sea, has for years been embroiled in a dispute over Beijing’s claims to sovereignty over the entire South China Sea.
An international tribunal at The Hague in 2016 invalidated China’s claims, but China rejected the decision.
Tensions between the two countries have recently escalated after Manila accused China of territorial incursions by hundreds of its ships into the resource-rich waterway.
The Philippines has filed diplomatic protests against China over what they call the “Illegal” presence of hundreds of Chinese ships, which, he says, are “maritime militias”.
Chinese diplomats said the boats were simply sheltered from the rough seas and no militia were on board.
In its latest statement, the Philippines South China Sea Task Force on Wednesday said it spotted seven “Chinese maritime militias” at Sabina Bank in the disputed Spratly Archipelago on April 27, which dispersed after being arrested by the Philippine Coast Guard.
WATCH: This is how the government ship BRP Cabra challenged the Chinese militia ships, which were in stationary linear formation at Sabina Shoal. 🎥: NTF WPS @gmanews @gmanewsbreaking pic.twitter.com/1xHrHk06r6
– FelAnna Felicia (@annafelicia_) May 5, 2021
Five returned two days later but left after the Philippine coast guard arrived, he said. Sabina shoal is approximately 130 nautical miles from the island of Palawan in the western Philippines.
“The Philippines is not deterred from standing up for our national interest, our heritage and our dignity as a people with all that we have,” the task force said.
The latest reported incursions have sparked a social media explosion laden with profanity by Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, who on Monday demanded that Chinese ships leave the country’s waters.
“China, my friend, how politely can I say this? Let me see… O… GET THE F *** OUT, ”Locsin Jr wrote on Twitter.
In response, Beijing urged Manila to observe “basic etiquette” and avoid megaphone diplomacy.
“The facts have proven over and over again that microphone diplomacy cannot change the facts, but can only undermine mutual trust,” he said.
Locsin later apologized for his statement, but clarified that it was only addressed to his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and not to China.
The once frigid relationship between the Philippines, a U.S. ally, and China had heated up under President Rodrigo Duterte, who overturned The Hague ruling in exchange for trade and investment promises which the criticisms, have largely not materialized.
On Monday evening, Duterte reiterated his claim that Manila owed Beijing a debt of gratitude, saying China “remains our benefactor.”
“Just because we have a conflict with China doesn’t mean we have to be rude and disrespectful.”