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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Over 100 Fishing Boats Assert Sovereignty Amidst Water Cannon Attacks and Tensions with China.

Over 100 Fishing Boats Assert Sovereignty Amidst Water Cannon Attacks and Tensions with China.

A group of around 100 Filipino fishing boats, led by activists, sailed towards the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea on Wednesday.
The Chinese coast guard and suspected militia have previously used water cannons to deter intruders.

The Philippine coast guard and navy accompanied the boats from a distance.

The activists aimed to assert Manila's sovereignty over the shoal and planned to place small territorial buoys and distribute supplies to Filipino fishermen.

Dozens of journalists joined the three-day voyage.

A group of Filipino fishermen, led by Rafaela David, plan to sail to the Scarborough Shoal to assert their sovereign rights and civilianize the region.

The shoal, a triangle-shaped atoll with a large fishing lagoon, has been a source of dispute between the Philippines and China since 2012.

China effectively seized the shoal by surrounding it with coast guard ships during a standoff.

In response, the Philippine government brought the dispute to international arbitration in 2013 and won a ruling three years later that China's expansive claims based on historical grounds were invalid under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Filipino fishermen's mission is peaceful and based on international law.

They previously attempted to sail to the shoal in December but cut short the trip due to Chinese surveillance.

A ruling declared the Scarborough Shoal a traditional fishing area for Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese fishermen.

However, China, which refused to participate in the arbitration, rejected the outcome and continues to assert sovereignty over the area.

Two weeks ago, Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships used water cannons on Philippine coast guard and fisheries boats, damaging both.

The Philippines condemned the Chinese action, stating it occurred in their internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

The Chinese coast guard claimed it took "necessary measures" after Philippine ships violated Chinese sovereignty.

Additionally, the Chinese coast guard reinstalled a floating barrier across the entrance to the shoal's fishing lagoon.

The Philippines and China have been involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea, with the Philippines removing a barrier to allow Filipino fishing in the area in the past.

Other countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan, have also been involved in the disputes.

Chinese coast guard ships have previously entered waters close to Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia, causing tensions and protests.

However, nations with significant economic ties with China have not been as critical of Beijing's actions.

The Philippines has released videos of territorial faceoffs and invited journalists to witness the hostilities, leading to a diplomatic dispute with China.

Skirmishes between the two countries have increased in frequency, resulting in minor collisions, injured navy personnel, and damaged supply boats.

The text expresses concerns that ongoing territorial disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea could lead to an armed conflict between the two countries.

China is the larger power in the region, and the United States, an ally of the Philippines, has expressed its commitment to support the Philippines in the event of a conflict.
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