Philippines Demands China Open Disputed South China Sea Shoal to Scrutiny!

Estimated read time 2 min read

May 20 – The Philippines demands China to allow international scrutiny of the Scarborough Shoal, following accusations that Beijing is damaging the marine environment there.

Tensions have been escalating between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea, with the Philippines accusing China of using water cannons and blockades at disputed shoals and reefs.

China took control of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012, a move that was central to the Philippines’ case at a Hague arbitration tribunal. In 2016, the tribunal ruled that Beijing’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea had no basis in international law.

“We are alarmed and worried about the situation there,” said Philippine National Security spokesperson Jonathan Malaya at a press conference. He added that the government is considering filing a case against China over the destruction of coral reefs and the harvesting of endangered giant clams in the South China Sea.

Photographs from the Philippine coast guard, taken between 2018 and 2019, show individuals identified as Chinese fishermen illegally harvesting giant clams, stingrays, topshells, and sea turtles, contributing to the depletion of the shoal’s marine environment. “This is clear evidence of carelessness. They don’t really care about the marine environment,” said coast guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela at the conference.

“If China truly believes in its stance, it should open Bajo de Masinloc (the Philippines’ name for Scarborough Shoal) to international scrutiny by a third party,” Malaya stated.

Recently, China’s coast guard announced rules to enforce a 2021 law that permits authorities to fire on foreign vessels infringing on its sovereignty and sovereign rights. China’s foreign ministry responded on Monday, asserting that “if there is no illegal behaviour by the individuals and bodies involved, there is no need to worry.”

However, Malaya countered that China has no authority over the high seas, dismissing the latest regulations as a “scare tactic” meant to intimidate and coerce its Asian neighbors. “The Philippines will not be intimidated or coerced by the Chinese Coast Guard. We will never succumb to these scare tactics,” he declared.

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