MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday sought clarification from China of a new law that would allow Chinese police to board “foreign vessels” in disputed areas of the South China, including a part now called West Philippine Sea by Manila.
In a statement, the foreign office said that the new law, if true as reported by the news media, “deserves international condemnation by Asean, our international partners and the entire community of nations.”
The foreign office said the boarding and inspection of foreign ships in international waters or disputed waters would violate international law and the agreed code of conduct among claimant countries.
“If media reports are accurate, this planned action by China is a gross violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC), international law, particularly UNCLOS, and a direct threat to the entire international community as it violates not only the maritime domain of coastal states established under UNCLOS, but also impedes the fundamental freedom of navigation and lawful commerce,” the DFA statement said.
“If media reports are accurate, this planned action by China is illegal and will validate the continuous and repeated pronouncements by the Philippines that China’s claim of indisputable sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea is not only an excessive claim but a threat to all countries,” it added.