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Thursday, April 18, 2024

China’s floating barriers

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Incredible accomplishment.

That one, after the Philippine Coast Guard removed a “floating barrier” installed by China southeast of Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, which lies within Manila’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

Philippine authorities, complying with the instructions of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., carried out “a special operation” to get rid of the estimated 300-meter long buoys or floating barriers.

We see the move as a momentous action in upholding international law.

The floating barriers unnecessarily posed a hazard to navigation and obviously hindered fishing and livelihood activities of Filipino fishermen in the area which is an integral part of Philippine territory.

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Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Jay Tarriela posted a video and still image which showed a diver carrying a knife and cutting the cable linking the buoys.

Another photo showed personnel removing an anchor of the “floating barrier.”

On Monday, the President’s national security adviser, Eduardo Ano, suggested Manila would take “all appropriate actions to cause the removal” of the buoys.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin previously defended the installation of the “floating barrier,” saying its Coast Guard took necessary measures in accordance with the law – which he did not specify – to drive away a Philippine vessel.

China claims, with its mythical ten-dash line, a very recent upgrade from its nine-dash line – 90 percent of the South China Sea, an area that overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Here, we join Philippine security authorities in chastising the Chinese Coast Guard for installing what Beijing called a “floating barrier” in the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborough Shoal,

The Shoal, a prime fishing spot about 200 km off the Philippines’ shoreline and within its exclusive economic zone, is the site of decades of on-off disputes over sovereignty.

This is the latest flare-up in long-simmering territorial disputes in the busy and resource-rich waterway, regarded as a potential Asian flashpoint and a delicate fault line in the US-China rivalry in the region.

While Washington lays no claim to the major global trade route, US Navy ships and fighter jets have carried out patrols for decades to challenge China’s expansive claims and promote freedom of navigation and overflight.

China has told the US to stop meddling in what it says is a purely Asian dispute.

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