søndag 16. juni 2024

Philippines Promises To Protect Fishermen As China’s Maritime Trespass Rule Takes Hold

The Philippines reassured Filipino fishermen on Friday that it would keep them safe as China prepared to enforce a new trespassing regulation, starting this weekend, in Beijing-claimed waters in the South China Sea. The China Coast Guard had issued an order on May 15 authorizing its personnel to detain foreign vessels and crews for up to 30 days – and as many as 60, in some cases. The regulation is due to take effect on Saturday.

“We have told [the Filipino fishermen] not to be afraid but just to go ahead with their normal activities in our exclusive economic zone,” Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., chief of the Philippine armed forces, told reporters. “Remember, [the West Philippine Sea] is ours. We have the right to exploit the resources in the area.”

Filipinos have expressed fears that the Chinese coast guard could intercept and detain Filipino boats operating in Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) waters that overlap with China’s extensive territorial claims in the sea. The West Philippine Sea is how Filipinos refer to South China Sea waters that lie within the Philippines’ EEZ.