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Philippines Slams China’s Unilateral South China Sea Fishing Ban


The Philippines has lodged a protest against China’s unilateral imposition of a four-month fishing ban in the South China Sea, the foreign ministry announced on Monday. The ministry criticised the annual fishing ban, stating it heightens tensions in the region and urged Beijing to “cease and desist” from actions deemed illegal, which infringe on the Philippines’ sovereignty and sovereign rights.

China imposes an annual fishing ban on South China Sea waters and the Philippines routinely opposes it. This year’s ban is expected to last until September.

The Philippines’ foreign affairs department (DFA) has protested the ban through a diplomatic note, saying the fishing moratorium covers waters within its maritime zones.

“The Philippines stressed that the unilateral imposition of the fishing moratorium raises tensions in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the DFA said in a statement.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro last week said China’s rules about how its Coast Guard can operate in the South China were a “provocation”.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In 2016, an international arbitral tribunal said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.

With Inputs From Reuters