Published On: Tue, May 5th, 2020

South China Sea: Furious fishermen demand Vietnam and Philippines stand up to Beijing | World | News


China’s paramilitary coastguard has vowed to strictly enforce the ban which covers fishing grounnds of the disputed Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal. The Vietnam Fisheries’ Society said the ban violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and international law.

A spokesman said: “Vietnamese fishermen have complete rights to fish in waters under their sovereignty.”

Beijing claims virtually all the South China Sea despite competing claims from five other governments

It usually only enforces the ban on its own fishing vessels although fishermen from other countries are also expected to comply.

This year, however, the China Coast Guard (CCG) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs have promised to during the three-and-a-half month ban that ends August 16.

State-run Xinhua News said the clampdown would “safeguard the rights and interests of marine fisheries and protect the marine ecological environment”.

That law enforcement campaign, coupled with the aggressive behaviour of the China Coast Guard in recent months, has led fishermen’s associations in the region demanding hardline responses from their own governments.

READ MORE:South China Sea threat: Beijing to boost armed police and coastguard

Fernando Hicap, chairman of the National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organisations in the Philippines, said: “The Philippine government should not waste time and wait for Chinese maritime officers to arrest our fishermen.

“China’s bullying should immediately stop, and be protested. We have international and local fisheries laws that can be implemented to combat China’s aggression.

“They have no right and moral ascendancy to declare a fishing ban in the guise of conserving fish stocks in marine waters that they have no any legal claim, and they have massively destroyed through reclamation activities.”

But critics of the regime said it had no environmental concerns and claimed the sole aim of the ban was to strengthen Beijing’s arm in the disputed region.

Hunter Stires from US Naval War College’s John B. Hattendorf Centre for Maritime Historical Research, said its purpose was to create a “closed, unfree, and Sino-centric” order in the South China Sea.

He said: “To make its draconian vision a reality, China is working to impose its will and its own domestic laws on other countries’ fishermen and local Southeast Asian civilian mariners throughout the South China Sea.

“The fishing ban covers an area that is flagrantly beyond China’s lawful jurisdiction and deep within its neighbours’ exclusive economic zones.”



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