Chinese Coast Guard on Scarborough Shoal
Satellite imagery (left) shows a Chinese Coast Guard vessel maintaining presence at the mouth of the Scarborough Shoal lagoon in the South China Sea in October 2016.
AMTI/Digital Globe
Philippines protests China's seizing of Filipino fishermen's devices on Scarborough
(Philstar.com) - August 21, 2020 - 8:12am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines followed up its diplomatic protests against China in April by filing another one on Thursday, this time against the confiscation of materials of Filipino fishermen.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Chinese coast guard seized fish-aggregating devices, locally called payaos, in May off Scarborough Shoal.

An arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled in 2016 that the reef, also called Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal, as a common fishing ground among nations in the vicinity. It also ruled that China's exclusive claim over the shoal as illegal and without basis.

Besides the protest on the confiscation of fishing devices, the Philippines opposed the Chinese coast guard's attempts to keep Filipino patrols at bay.

"The Philippines also resolutely objected to China’s continuing illicit issuances of radio challenges Philippine aircraft conducting legitimate regular maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea," the DFA wrote in the statement released Thursday night.

In April, two diplomatic protests against China were also filed to question Chinese state forces' threats pointing a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship and their declaration as part of Hainan province waters within Philippine jurisdiction under international law and reefs and banks the Philippines considers as territory.

China's maneuverings are despite President Rodrigo Duterte's repeated assurances to the public that China has agreed to allow Filipino fishermen to operate in Philippines waters China claims as its own.

BAJO DE MASINLOC CHINESE COAST GUARD DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DIPLOMATIC PROTEST SCARBOROUGH SHOAL SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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