China Imposes Unilateral Ban On Fishing, Philippines Protests Loudly
Xisha Islands in the South China
The Chinese government on Wednesday suddenly announced a unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea. It also announced that the ban was a normal measure and will not accept groundless accusations from any other nation.
Well the ban has certainly not been accepted by Philippines whose Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) filed a diplomatic protest over China’s so-called unilateral imposition of the ban.
China is trying its level best to implement a summer fishing moratorium in the South China Sea, which the Chinese Communist say is a normal measure to protect marine biological resources in the waters. They further arrogantly claim that so called South China Sea is under China’s jurisdiction, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, told a routine press conference on Wednesday. China is trying to assert that it their duty towards the rest of the World and therefore assuming the international duties in line with international laws including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. So China has refused to accept the Philippines DFA’s accusations, terming it baseless.
The DFA filed the protest on Monday saying that Manila “conveyed its protest to the moratorium, which covers areas in the West Philippine Sea over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” the Manila Times reported. This is absolutely correct. As the sea does not belong to China only. The area has to have EEZ demarcated for each of the country around.
The Philippines hopes that China will view the issue objectively and correctly, earnestly fulfill its obligations as coastal countries in the Sea off the southern coast of China and off the Western coast of Philippines, and jointly promote the sustainable development of fisheries in the region.
The latest protest came up as the next Philippine president prepares to take office soon, who also claimed recently to uphold the Western Philippines Sea or so-called South China Sea ruling and “not let China trample on Manila’s maritime rights.” Some observers said the incoming Marcos Jr’ administration’s policy on the South China Sea is likely to be a continuation of its predecessor and it’s unlikely that he would take an aggressive posture on the matter.
The fishing issue is always a major hot topic in the Philippines elections and candidates running for presidency vow to protect the interest of the fishing sector.
It’s believed that Marcos Jr’s stance on the Western Philippines Sea won’t be different from Duterte’s as he has to uphold the Philippines claims and respond to the attack from the opposition groups on the matter.
Philippines must continue to press for talks on the issue with China. It must also take up the issue to UN and the ASEAN. At the same time it must speed up the raising of BRAHMOS Coastal batteries and obtain the Missiles from India. It must also strive to arm a few of its Ships with BRAHMOS launchers. For air defence Philipines should ask for AKASH Mk1 Missiles from India. Only then will China start seeing the value of talks. Otherwise it will just try to dictate the terms to Philippines.