A fishing boat leaves a port in Masinloc, Zambales province, Philippines, September 26, 2023. Courtesy of REUTERS/Lisa Marie David
After removing the floating barrier put up by China, the Philippines urged its fishermen to continue fishing in the South Sea
Thursday, September 28, 2023, 06:50 (GMT + 9)
The Manila Coast Guard challenges Beijing's maneuvers in the disputed waters that the regime intends to occupy de facto. In addition, in October it will carry out military exercises with the United States and other allies
The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday urged the country's fishermen to continue fishing in the area where Manila accused Beijing of imposing a "floating barrier" to prevent their access, which was removed on Monday.
“It is the Government's intention to encourage more Filipino fishermen to fish in Masinloc Shoal (also known as Scarborough Atoll) and other areas of the West Philippine Sea,” said Jay Tarriela, spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard, on Wednesday. in an interview with local radio DZRH.
His comment comes a day after the Philippine Coast Guard announced that it had removed a “floating barrier” that Manila said Beijing had put up to prevent Filipino fishermen from fishing in disputed waters of the South China Sea (called the Philippine Sea Western by Philippines).
Manila coast guard and fisheries bureau personnel discovered the structure, estimated to be 300 meters long, during a routine patrol near Scarborough Reef. (Courtesy: REUTERS)
The barrier, about 300 meters long, was discovered over the weekend near Scarborough Atoll, which lies within the Philippines' exclusive economic area and which China occupied in 2012, blocking entry to Filipino fishermen.
The Chinese regime warned the Philippines on Tuesday not to "look for problems" after the withdrawal of the barrier, which represents the latest episode of tensions between Beijing and Manila over territories in those waters, including the Scarborough Atoll.
Xi Jinping claims almost the entire South China Sea, including the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos, a claim that overlaps with the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic areas, as indicated by international law, of countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
For its part, the Philippines has intensified defense ties with the United States following the appointment of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last year, and today announced the holding of annual military maneuvers with the North American country between the next 2 and 13 October.
A Chinese coast guard ship attempts to block a Philippine supply ship, left, on its way to the Second Thomas Shoal, known locally as the Ayungin Shoal, in the disputed waters of the China Sea. Meridional, courtesy of Aaron Favila / Infobae
The Philippine Navy indicated in a statement that these maneuvers aim to “further strengthen international defense cooperation and promote a law-based international system,” and that they will include anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-aircraft and electronic warfare practices.
In addition to the Philippines and the United States, the navies of Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and France will participate in the exercises, although only in exchanging information on disaster responses and other matters, while New Zealand and Indonesia will send observers.
Military exercises between the United States and the Philippines are a common practice, framed within the mutual defense treaty that both countries signed in 1951.