MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that the country’s Coast Guard vessels are stationed in waters near Scarborough Shoal to administer fishing activities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the Philippines and China made arrangements for fishing activities in the area.
“Last year, based on the friendliness between China and the Philippines, China made proper arrangement for fishing activities by Philippine fishermen in the relevant part of waters near Huangyan Dao,” Hua said in a press briefing Monday.
Reuters earlier reported that a small Philippine fishing crew is being allowed to fish in the area by the Chinese Coast Guard.
Chinese Coast Guard vessels are also present in the area to preserve peace, tranquility and order, the spokesperson said.
Asked about the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he would not place weapons on Philippines-controlled islets in the South China Sea, Hua stressed that China’s position on the issue has been clear and consistent.
President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. Photo by EPA
“We are firm in upholding our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea,” Hua said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated that Beijing is committed to settling disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultations with countries directly involved, including the Philippines.
China is also committed to working with ASEAN countries to preserve peace and stability in the region, Hua said.
“China has maintained close and effective communication with the Philippines on relevant issues. We hope that the Philippines can work with us to continue to properly handle differences and create favorable atmosphere for the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations,” the spokesperson said.
Duterte earlier ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to occupy the country’s controlled islets and land features in the South China Sea.
The president, however, clarified that there are no new weapons being eyed for the islets as the Philippine military seeks to exercise greater control.
“We are just there to claim the island for us because that is really ours and I have ordered the AFP to build structures there to signify, atin ito,” Duterte said before departing for Saudi Arabia.
The president made the order for the military to occupy South China Sea following reports that China is nearly finished with its construction of military facilities on three islands in the Spratly Group.
Philippine Defense Secretary: China has no reason to fear that tension could ignite between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea — After Chinese foreign ministry warned the Philippines to behave
A Vietnamese fishing boat was reportedly ambushed and looted by a China Coast Guard vessel off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago. Here the fisher make a reort to Vietnamese police, March 2016.
South China Sea: China Denies Building Military Bases (November 24, 2015)
Chinese J-11 Fighters Deployed To Woody Island In South China Sea (December 28, 2015)
Beijing’s ‘salami slicing’ strategy speeds up in South China Sea — Philippines, Vietnam seem to be the current victims (Also called “Talk and Take”)
China posted pictures of an armed J-11 Flanker fighter
South China Sea: Philippines has lost traditional fishing ground as Vietnamese move in with Chinese, Philippines envoy to China says — Everyone shares the common fishing ground — But fewer fish each year (Philippine Star)
‘Devastating’ coral loss in South China Sea – scientists — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles
On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.
Tags: "absolute control" over the South China Sea, abuse of presidential power by Duterte, China, Chinese coast guard, Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese strategy, Filipino fishermen, fishing, illegal fishing, international law, Malacañang, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte that he would not place weapons on Philippines-controlled islets in the South China Sea, salami slicing, Scarborough, Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea, Spratly Group, Talk and Take