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Politics & Law

Philippine Government denounces China’s new maritime law (South China Sea)


Philippines ShipsThe Philippine Government recently denounced China‘s new maritime law that will allow its border patrol to board and expel foreign ships in the South China Sea.

In a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine officials described the policy as a “gross violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, among other cited international agreements.

Moreover, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN has also voiced concern over China’s latest pronouncement as it may impede maritime access over the tension-filled area.

This latest round of diplomatic row comes right after China’s issuance of new passports that included a map of South China Sea, prompting the Philippines to issue a separate visa form for Chinese nationals.

Statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the New Law to Strengthen Control Over the Maritime Jurisdiction of China’s Hainan Province

We would like China to immediately clarify its reported plans to interdict ships that enter what it considers its territory in the South China Sea.

If media reports are accurate, we are specifically concerned with the information that foreign vessels illegally entering the waters under the jurisdiction of Hainan Province – which China claims to include virtually the entire South China Sea under the 9-dash line – can be boarded, inspected, detained, confiscated, immobilised and expelled, among other punitive actions.

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.

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.

If media reports are accurate, the law deserves international condemnation by ASEAN, our international partners and the entire community of nations.

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