The Philippines Ignores China's Fishing Ban: 'We Do Not Recognize It'
China has released an annual moratorium banning fishing in the West Philippine Sea, which runs until August 16. But the Philippines is having none of it.
In a statement published on May 17, the Department of Foreign Affairs slammed China’s unilateral move. It cited international law, including the 2016 landmark victory of the Philippines against China at the United Nations international arbitral tribunal.
In the 2016 ruling, the court overwhelmingly favored arguments submitted by the Philippines. The award invalidated China’s Nine-Dash Lines and its “historic” claims on the entire West Philippine Sea. It also declared illegal China’s occupation of the reefs within the areas claimed by the Philippines.
The 11-point arbitration award also stated China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has failed to protect the environment when it built artificial islands and “engaged in harmful harvesting activities” in the West Philippine Sea.
According to the ruling, it was illegal for China to prevent Filipinos from conducting traditional fishing activities in the West Philippine Sea, particularly when it blocked access to Scarborough Shoal beginning 2012.
The international community has repeatedly voiced support in favor of the ruling. Some of the staunchest supporters of the ruling were the European Union, which is composed of 27 countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.