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Philippines tells fishermen to ignore Beijing's ban on fishing in South China Sea

CommoditiesMay 05, 2021 11:00
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© Reuters.

MANILA, May 5 (Reuters) - The Philippines has rejected an
annual summer fishing ban imposed by China in the disputed South
China Sea and encouraged its boats to keep fishing in the
country's territorial waters.
The fishing moratorium imposed by China since 1999 runs from
May 1 to Aug. 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
Philippines' South China Sea taskforce said in a statement late
on Tuesday.
The taskforce opposed China's imposition of the ban over the
areas within the territory and jurisdiction of the Philippines,
adding "our fisherfolk are encouraged to go out and fish in our
waters in the WPS (West Philippine Sea)"
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to
a request for comment.
Manila, which refers to area as the West Philippine Sea, has
for years been embroiled in a dispute over Beijing's sweeping
claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea.
An international tribunal in 2016 invalidated China's
claims, but China has rejected the ruling.
Tensions between the two countries have recently escalated
after Manila accused China of territorial incursions by hundreds
of its vessels in the resource-rich waterway.
The Philippines has filed diplomatic protests against China
over what it calls the "illegal" presence of the Chinese
vessels, which it says are manned by militia. Chinese diplomats have said the boats were just sheltering
from rough seas and no militia were aboard.
The Philippines' South China Sea taskforce said it spotted
seven "Chinese Maritime Militia" at the Sabina shoal in the
disputed Spratly archipelago on April 27, which dispersed after
being challenged by the Philippine coast guard.
Five returned two days later but left after the Philippine
coast guard arrived, it said. Sabina shoal is around 130
nautical miles from the western Philippine island of Palawan.
"The Philippines is not deterred from defending our national
interest, patrimony, and our dignity as a people with all that
we have," the task force said.

Philippines tells fishermen to ignore Beijing's ban on fishing in South China Sea
 

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