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Philippines not afraid to enforce law in WPS
Published on: Saturday, August 19, 2023
By: Inquirer
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Philippines not afraid to enforce law in WPS
Chinese vessels in the waters off Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in West Philippine Sea, despite warnings and diplomatic protests lodged by Philippines against China.
MANILA: Philippines is asking China to prevent Chinese fishing vessels from encroaching on Philippine jurisdiction, specifically, the West Philippine Sea.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) made the pronouncement after China lifted its annual fishing ban in South China Sea.

China imposes the fishing ban every year from May 1 until August 16.

The period lasts for three and a half months.

DFA said the removal of the prohibition is not recognized by Philippines since China’s action covers areas that are within the Philippine territory.

“We urge China to take active measures AT PORT to prevent its fishing fleets from encroaching into our territorial sea and EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” said DFA.

“The Philippines is ready to take law enforcement measures on illegal fishing activities in its waters,” it warned.

According to DFA, the fishing ban imposed by China has been the subject of its diplomatic protests.

“It is an illegal exercise of state authority in so far as they cover the Philippines’ maritime zones,” DFA said.

Philippines and China have been in a long-running maritime dispute.

The row is a result of China’s claim that it owns the entire South China Sea, including portions of West Philippine Sea.

Philippines had challenged China’s claim by raising the issue at the International Permanent Court of Arbitration (IPCA) in The Hague in 2013.

Philippines won the case in 2016.

China, however, consistently refuses to recognize the ruling, ignoring a series of protests and demands made by Philippine government for Chinese vessels to leave WPS.

Philippines has filed 445 diplomatic protests against China since 2020. 

Meanwhile, the upcoming visit of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the Philippines will further enhance the relationship between the two countries, said Palace on Friday.

According to Malacañang, this event will be the first time a head of state from Australia will visit Philippines since 2003.

Albanese will be in the country from September 7 to 8.

“The President’s meeting with Prime Minister Albanese on 08 September is anticipated to reinforce this partnership, ushering in a new era of closer cooperation across key sectors, such as defence and security, trade, economic development, and maritime affairs,” the Palace said in a Facebook post.

“It follows a series of high-level engagements earlier this year between the Philippines and Australia, underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to advance the trajectory of their multifaceted partnership,” it added.

In May, Philippines and Australia jointly said they were bolstering efforts to improve the ties between the two nations. 

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