The Philippine Embassy in Beijing has asked for a meeting from China’s foreign ministry to clarify the new fisheries law it has imposed in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
In a statement, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Philippine official sought a clarification from Chinese foreign ministry officials regarding a new law that demands foreign shipping vessels to ask permission from Hainan Provincial Congress before entering the disputed region.
The new fisheries law took effect on January 1.
This came amid rising tensions between China and Japan, as well as China and the Philippines, regarding the disputed regions.
Hernandez said the new fisheries law is a “gross violation” of international laws since no country can claim sovereignty over the high seas.
It also “escalates tensions, unnecessarily complicates the situation in the South China Sea and threatens the peace and stability of the region.”
“We are gravely concerned by this new regulation that would require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from Chinese regional authorities before fishing or surveying in a large portion of the South China Sea,” Hernandez said.
The West Philippine Sea, a resource-rich region, is being claimed in whole by China, and in part by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam.
Last year, China imposed an air defense zone over the East China Sea, which houses small and uninhabited islands claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo.
The United States, Australia, Japan and the Philippines quickly rejected the move. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON