DFA chief says China’s fishing ban won’t be enforced in WPS

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is unfazed over China’s rejection of the Philippines’ protest on the former’s unilateral imposition of a fishing ban in the South China Sea, saying it won’t be enforced anywhere in the country’s waters.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Locsin said China can say anything about the diplomatic protest the Department of Foreign Affairs lodged over the fishing ban that covers areas in the West Philippine Sea “which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”

But it does not mean the Philippines will have to also enforce the ban over its waters, he said.

“It’s a free world after all; you can say anything from Beijing; won’t be enforced anywhere in West Philippine Sea,” Locsin said on Twitter quoting the Manila Bulletin’s report on China’s statement on the diplomatic protest.

It’s a free world after all; you can say anything from Beijing; won’t be enforced anywhere in West Philippine Sea. We can issue a ban ourselves but no need. WE haven’t overfished our EEZed. China may know something about Chinese overfishing in the WPS; we’d appreciate a heads up. https://t.co/6LqkvYESeu

— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) June 2, 2022

The Foreign Affairs chief said the Philippines can also issue a ban but there is no need for that as the country is not overfishing its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

He also said that if China is aware of any overfishing in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a heads up from them about it would be appreciated.

“We can issue a ban ourselves but no need. WE haven’t overfished our EEZed. China may know something about Chinese overfishing in the WPS; we’d appreciate a heads up,” Locsin said.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Thursday, June 2, said that China cannot accept the Philippines’ claims that the three-and-a-half month fishing ban in the South China Sea breached the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China said the Philippines’ accusation is “unwarranted” and noted that China was only doing a “normal measure of protecting marine biological resources in waters under China’s jurisdiction.”

The Philippines pointed out that the declaration of a moratorium on fishing that extends to the West Philippine Sea “has no basis in law, and undermines the mutual trust, confidence, and respect” between the two nations.

READ MORE: China dismisses PH’s protest on unilateral fishing ban in South China Sea

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