By: Elena Grace Flores
Since 2012 China has been harrassing Filipino fishermen in the disputed areas of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. Non-Chinese fishing boats approaching the lagoon’s entrance have been shood away by an ear-splitting horn blast from the Chinese Coast Guard positioned inside the Shoal. Fishermen who do not follow will either be hosed down or even rammed, according to Filipino fishermen. Water-cannon attack is a very common weapon of the Chinese.
Sometimes the Chinese cut anchor cables, which is very risky for Filipino boats; said a Filipino fishermen at Infanta and Masinloc. China claims it has sovereign rights in almost all of the South China Sea as per Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying; “We have said that Scarborough Shoal is China’s intrinsic territory. The Chinese coast guard vessels’ law enforcement activities in China’s sovereign territorial waters are legitimate and beyond reproach,”; based on the report of Japan Times.
Despite the unresolved disputes, China has undertaken massive land-reclamation in Spratly Islands, also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. China’s intended use of these artificial islands for military purposes are criticized by super powers who knew that vast Deuterium deposits existed there. The Americans together with their allies are also spearheading a campaign to preserve maritime freedom of navigation along those passageways. The Philippines has lodged a case with the International Arbitral Court, a U.N.-backed tribunal at The Hague, asking it to rule that China’s claims to most of the sea violate international law – which China still ignores up to this date prompting the United States to install their coast guard visibility in the area very soon.