Back off, PH tells China fleet

A+
A
A-

AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines Wednesday called on China to back off the country’s established maritime borders in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), saying any foray into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would be a violation of international law.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez issued the statement yesterday amid reports that China has deployed a large fleet of fishing vessels in the Kalayaan island group in the disputed Spratlys archipelago this week.

Hernandez reiterated the country’s exclusive rights to the area even though he said the country’s Navy and Coast Guard have yet to confirm any “sightings” of Chinese vessels approaching the Philippine maritime zone in the contested waters.

No confirmation

“We have not received any official confirmation from our monitoring agencies regarding the reported trip of about 30 Chinese fishing vessels to the West Philippine Sea. But for now, we would like to call on China to respect Philippine national territory and its sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone established in accordance with Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Hernandez told a press briefing yesterday.

Chinese state media on Monday reported that a fishing fleet had left the southern Chinese province of Hainan for a 40-day expedition in the West Philippine Sea, a reputedly resource-rich area wholly claimed by China against the partial claims of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Hernandez said China would be in violation of international law if its expedition would encroach into the known Philippine exclusive economic zone.

Sovereign right

He said the maritime resources in the area belongs to the Filipino people and that the Philippines was entitled to defend that right.

“The Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction to explore its resources in the exclusive economic zone for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Hernandez said.

“The Philippines has an international obligation to ensure the sustainable management of these resources. China is in violation of international law if it interferes with the sovereign rights of the Philippines,” he said.

The Armed Forces on Wednesday directed its Western Command (Wescom) to “intensify” its monitoring of the West Philippine Sea and validate reports that China had sent its largest fleet to the disputed Spratlys group even as it said the Philippines stood ready to defend its territory and sovereignty.

Armed Forces spokesmaon Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan told a press briefing that the report of a Chinese flotilla having been deployed to the Spratlys area was on the agenda of Wednesday’s regular command conference presided over by Armed Forces Chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.

Courses of action

Among the things that were discussed was “for us to determine what are the courses of action, what we may be able to undertake [if] this report is verified,” Tutaan said.

Asked what the military would do should the Chinese flotilla enter the Philippines’ EEZ, Tutaan replied that the government will have to exert its “integrity and sovereignty of our territory.”

“We will have to exert our integrity and the sovereignty of our territory but again we have to undertake it as a whole government decision or effort, and the DFA will again be in the lead as far as this is concerned,” he said.

In a separate statement, Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, the Navy’s spokesmaon on West Philippine matters, said Philippine Navy ships have been “patrolling the area.”

“We have sailors and marines stationed in or near the area that shall serve as our eyes and ears. But as of now, it’s too early to comment on what to do if they enter Philippine territory as that remains to be a contingency as of the moment,” Arevalo said.

He reiterated that the “guidance” from the AFP headquarters was to “continue to be vigilant, and monitor and report any unusual incidents obtaining in the area.”

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.delosreyes.39 Chris Delos Reyes

    China is exerting effective control and occupation.One criteria for a territorial claim.
    Kung di tayo papalag mischief reef na rin kakauwian nito.Sayang! Wala kasing concrete action ang gobyerno natin. Puro drawing lang! Kung meron tayo kahit 2 armed frigate man lang mangdadalawang isip mga yan.Tingnan mo di sila makalapit sa Taiwan at Vietnam held island kasi fortified na ng mga canon yun.Pwede sila paputukan kahit warning shots.Sa atin hanggang Tubataha at Palawan labas masok mga damuhong intsik na ito.Sa atin din reflection nyan feeling nila bulok AFP natin.Kaya walang respeto sa mga Pilipino yung ibang bansa kasi wala na rin tayong respeto sa sarili natin. Sana kahit medyo nagugutom tayo maisip ng mga pulitiko yung salitang dangal at respesto para sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino. Sabagay mukhang di naman sila apektado…

  • Hadji Killa

    Essentially what this article is saying is that the government has no idea what they are doing.

    “But as of now, it’s too early to comment on what to do if they enter
    Philippine territory as that remains to be a contingency as of the
    moment,” Arevalo said.”

    Really?!? The PRC has been asserting its claims in PI claimed waters for years now and the government still has no idea what to do if they enter disputed PI waters. This whole, we’re “intensifying our surveillance” and we have many “soldiers in the area” is really just lip-service paid to the filipinos. It’s really just the government’s way of saying we’re going to talk to the PRC and just watch as the Chinese have their way — essentially doing NOTHING.

    This is exactly why the world does not really take PI claims in the South China Sea seriously. Real countries would assert their claims through show of force.

  • dikoy321

    ONCE they tresspass, SHOOT !
    To guard our seas, we have to ACT, not only Talk!
    Bravo to the PCG personnel that shot at the Taiwanese intruders!
    Intruders are intruders, tresspassing inside our sovereignty, SHOOT them!
    If we get killed, we do our Job, DEFENDing our own!
    Wake Up, Philiphine Navy, BFAR, PCG and fight in DEFENSE of Country!
    Sulong Pilipinas !!!

    • sigena

      sira

  • beowulf20

    I hope someone is going to do something about China violating their UNCLOS backed territory. Otherwise the UN is quite useless and we are back to square one since the League of Nations Failure back in 1917.

    • 33Sam

      The UN is the League of Nations which is the globalist eugenicist founded group to push their agenda of new world order and to look out for their interests. At the helm is the Bilderbergs, a group that supercedes the UN made up of the richest people on the planet, those that created the League of Nations basically and the United Nations later. The UN created Agenda 21 in cahoots with the Rockefeller Foundation. Agenda 21’s thrust is to confiscate all lands and natural resources on the planet, pack people into mega cities so they can be controlled and taxed to where they can no longer afford to own property, with the new world order endgame of 90% population reduction for the 21st century. To trust that the UN is a fair and balanced entity and is concerned about all the peoples of the world is naive. The Philippines signed on to Agenda 21 in 1997 when Fidel Ramos by executive order passed PA21 as urged by the UN. What we are seeing here with this fishing vessel invading Philippine waters is a social engineering behavior modification ploy to get people used to encroachment. Agenda 21 in essence destroyed sovereignty when nations sign on to it. The only country today free of this is Iceland who recently kicked out the globalist foreign bankers out of their country and refused to pay the fake debt these globalists, through banker derivative gambling, were forcing upon nations as debt.

      The UN is useless because its not the organization its propped up to be.

  • baldong

    MAKE OUR DAY TAIWAN AND DONT TREATEN US.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94