The fishing ban imposed by China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is against Philippine sovereignty, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“That’s against the sovereignty – that’s our position,” replied Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo when asked in a Palace briefing if the fishing ban was objectionable on the part of the Philippines.
“Is it objectionable for a sovereign country to have its property or island assaulted or intruded into? Your question, if your answer is yes, then the answer to your question is yes,” he said.
The Chinese agricultural ministry reportedly said the annual fishing ban, which covers both Chinese and foreign fishermen, will run from May 1 until August 16.
Vietnam “resolutely” rejected China’s unilateral fishing ban decision, according to media reports.
Panelo said the government will always be consistent with its policy “that it will assert its sovereignty over the areas claimed to be its own”.
“So, it will always pursue that line,” he added.
The Presidential Spokesman, however, said he will leave it to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to make a statement on the issue.
“I will leave that to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to make a direct statement on that,” he added, noting that all department heads “know their jobs”.
On April, President Rodrigo Duterte met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China from April 25 to 27 where both leaders reiterated their respective stands on the sea row.
Panelo said the two leaders also agreed to use a bilateral consultation mechanism to resolve the conflict. PNA