DFA says China has “no right to fish, monitor or interfere with PH’s legitimate avtivities therein”
(File photo) The Philippines grounded an old Navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999, four years after China built structures on nearby, Filipino-claimed Mischief Reef. Filipino troops have kept a presence on the ship ever since. (Screengrab of Agence France Presse 2014 file video)
(Eagle News) – The Philippines again lodged a protest over China’s “illegal fishing” in the Ayungin Shoal on Friday, June 10, as the Department of Foreign Affairs stressed that China had “no right to fish, monitor or interfere” with the country’s “legitimate activities” there.
The DFA said it lodged a protest “over recent incidents” in the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, an atoll in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.
The Shoal is militarily occupied by the Philippines through the Philippine Navy landing craft, the BRP Sierra Madre which had been deliberately run aground at the shoal in 1999 after China reclaimed Mischief Reef.
The DFA protested “China’s illegal fishing, shadowing of China Coast Guard vessels of Philippine boats on a rotation and reprovision mission, and the installation of buoys and fish nets that blocked the shoal’s entrance.”
READ: The DFA has lodged today another protest over recent incidents in Ayungin Shoal, including China’s illegal fishing, shadowing of China Coast Guard vessels of Philippine boats on a rotation & reprovision mission, and… (1/3)@teddyboylocsin
— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) June 10, 2022
“The 2016 Arbitral Award affirmed that Ayungin Shoal is within PH EEZ (exclusive economic zone) and continental shelf. China has no right to fish, monitor, or interfere with PH’s legitimate activities therein,” the DFA statement read.
The Philippines also called on China “to comply with its obligations under international law,” including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award.
In November last year, Chinese Coast Guard vessels tried to block two Philippine supply boats which were supposed to deliver essential supplies to the soldiers of the Philippine Marines stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre.
The ship was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II which was also used in the Vietnam war by the US Navy. After the Vietnam war in 1975, the ship was transferred to the Philippine government which named it BRP Sierra Madre.
Up to this day, although rusty and “peppered with massive holes,” the BRP Sierra Madre serves its purpose as a Philippine outpost in the contested region, and serves as home to heroic Philippine soldiers stationed at the ship.
This latest Philippine diplomatic protest came just days after the DFA filed a similar protest against China for the swarming anew of over a hundred fishing vessels in and around the Julian Felipe Reef, or the Whitsun Reef.
(Eagle News Service)