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Carpio prods PH to file protest vs China vessels near Pag-asa

Two years ago, China also seized Sandy Cay near Pag-asa, but the government has not filed any protest
/ 11:20 PM April 03, 2019
Analyst: China militia near Pag-asa shows prospect to take island

This satellite image shows large Chinese flotilla spotted near Pagasa Island on Dec. 20, 2018. (Photo from CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative)

MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio urged the government on Wednesday to file a diplomatic protest against China to preserve the country’s sovereignty over its territorial sea.

“To preserve our sovereignty over our territorial sea around Pagasa, the Philippines should file a diplomatic protest. Otherwise, the Philippines will be deemed to have acquiesced to China’s claim that the waters around Pag-asa belong to China under its nine-dash line claim,” Carpio said in a statement.

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The statement came after a large Chinese-manned dredging vessel was spotted along a fishing village in Lobo town in Batangas.

READ: Chinese-manned dredging ship alarms Batangas coastal town

Carpio said China’s fishing vessels had no right to fish within the 12 nautical mile territorial sea of Pag-asa.

“They can only exercise innocent passage in our territorial sea — meaning these vessels must transit in a straight, continuous and expeditious passage. These vessels cannot stop, loiter or even zigzag in [and] out [of the] territorial sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio said the government should also protest China’s seizure of Sandy Cay and two other sandbars.

“Sandy Cay, a high-tide sandbar, and two nearby low-tide sandbars are less than two nautical miles from Pag-asa. These sandbars emerged within our 12-nautical-mile territorial sea in Pagasa,” Carpio explained. “Anything that emerges within our territorial sea is also our territory. That is well-recognized under international law.”

Sandy Cay was seized by China two years ago. However, the Philippines filed no protest despite its promise that it would do so.

“The Philippines must also file a diplomatic protest against China‘s seizure of Sandy Cay and the two other sandbars. Otherwise, the Philippines will be deemed to have acquiesced to China’s seizure of these sandbars which form part of Philippine territory,” Carpio added.

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said he had already filed a diplomatic protest against China but refused to give details.

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Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo agreed that the diplomatic protest should not be made public. He said the public should trust its government. /atm

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, Diplomatic Protest, Maritime Dispute, Pag-asa Island, PH-China Relations, South China Sea, Thitu Island, West Philippine Sea
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