Manila seeks clarification on Chinese fishing rules in West PH SeaBy: Manuel Mogato and Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters
January 9, 2014 7:00 PM
MANILA/BEIJING -- The Philippines said it was seeking clarification of rules from China's Hainan province that say fishing boats need permission to enter waters under its jurisdiction, which the local government says covers much of the disputed South China Sea.
Such a move, if broadly enforced, could worsen tensions in the region.
It says foreign fishing vessels need approval to enter from the "relevant and responsible department" of the Chinese government's cabinet.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said Manila had asked its embassy in Beijing to get more information on the rules.
Hainan officials were not immediately available to comment but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said regulating the use of China's marine resources was a normal practice.
"The goal is to strengthen the security of fisheries resources and to openly and reasonably utilize and protect fisheries resources," Hua said at a regular news briefing when asked about the rules.
A senior Philippine naval official said the rules were a violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, adding China was unable to enforce such measures outside its territorial waters and its 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
"This is excessive ... I don't know how this will be implemented but it will be effective only within the 200-mile (EEZ) from Hainan province," said the officer, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman for the Department of National Defense, said authorities were ready to enforce fishing rules in the Philippines own EEZ, which include regulations on the type of fish that can be caught.
Chinese enforcement could depend on the nationality of the fishermen, said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing.
"I think Hainan put it out to tell relevant countries we have such a regulation, but how we practice it depends on how bilateral relations are," Shi said.
"If ties are good, the regulation may be loose. If not, we will practice it strictly, which means that you have to get approval from us before entering."http://interaksyon.com/article/78375/manila-seeks-clarification-on-chinese-fishing-rules-in-west-ph-sea