The Philippines on Monday said it will remove the floating barriers installed allegedly by China at Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Huangyan Island, in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
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“We condemn the installation of floating barriers by the Chinese Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc. The placement by the People’s Republic of China of a barrier violates the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen whose rights have been affirmed by the 2016 arbitral ruling,” Filipino National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano said.
“We will take all appropriate actions to cause the removal of the barriers and to protect the rights of our fishermen in the area,” he said, according to Manila-based news website Rappler.com.
However, Beijing said Huangyan Island, also known as Scarbourogh Shoal, is an “inherent part of China’s territory, and China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its surrounding waters.”
“China has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters,” Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said on Monday.
Separately, the Philippine Foreign Ministry vowed to protect sovereignty amid fresh tensions in the disputed waters.
“We will take all appropriate measures to protect our country’s sovereignty and the livelihood of our fisherfolk,” said Teresita Daza, spokeswoman for the ministry.
Daza said Scarborough Shoal, where Beijing allegedly placed the barriers, is an “integral part of the Philippines, over which we have sovereignty and territorial jurisdiction” according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Sunday “strongly condemned” the China Coast Guard’s “installation of floating barriers in the Southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc, which prevents Filipino fishing boats from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities.”
“During the routine maritime patrol, the BFAR vessel observed more than 50 Filipino fishing boats engaged in fishing activities in the area,” the Philippine Coast Guard said. ■