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US backs PH in diplomatic protest against China’s annual fishing ban

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officially filed a diplomatic protest against China’s imposition of its yearly seasonal fishing ban, which runs from May 1 to August 16, last May 30, 2022, Monday.

China’s fishing moratorium extends over the waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), wherein the Philippines have sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the marine territory as cited in the 2016 ruling by a court in The Hague, which the US State Department pointed out.

China’s annual fishing ban on the South China Sea started in 1999 to generate fishing stocks to compensate for overfishing with its dense population. However, China’s prohibition breaches the territorial waters, fractions of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

In the DFA’s protest, it was noted that the ban extended to the “areas in the West Philippine Sea over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction” and that China’s fishing ban has “no basis in law, and undermines the mutual trust, confidence, and respect that should underpin bilateral relations.”

From DFA’s diplomatic protest over the unruly fishing ban of China, the US State Department then cited the 2016 ruling by a court in The Hague, wherein the Philippines won its rightful jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea, thereby rejecting China’s territorial claims over the West Philippine Sea.

On June 3, 2022, China rejected the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines and said that it could not accept the “unwarranted accusations” made by the DFA.

Meanwhile, the DFA also discussed possible additional diplomatic protest over the alleged harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of the Filipino scientists in the Philippines’ EEZ.

The incident then resulted in a courtesy visit by the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu.

Abu said that the visit hopes to talk about the “friendly exchanges and cooperation” between the CCG and the PCG.

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