The Chinese government said it has no other choice but to strengthen its supervision in Bajo de Masinloc also known as Panatag Shoal and Scarborough Shoal. This is after China claimed that Filipino fishermen provoked and disobeyed the Chinese Coast Guard operating within the said territory early March.
Bajo de Masinloc was a traditional fishing ground for Filipino fishermen and a shelter during bad weather, until China restricted access in 2012.
“Chinese official vessels, acting in line with law, persuaded illegal Philippine fishing vessels to leave this area. But the Philippine ships refused to obey, and some people aboard even waved around machetes and flung fire bombs, carried out deliberate provocation, and attacked the Chinese law enforcers and official boats,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said today in a press conference.
According to her, Filipino fishermen “intruded into lagoons without any permission, trawled illegally in relevant waters and illegally stayed for a very long time.”
“China has no other choice but to strengthen supervision in waters off Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal) to uphold sovereignty as well as safety and order in the relevant waters,” she said.
Few days ago, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said the US Navy detected increased Chinese activity including survey activity in Bajo de Masinloc.
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