DFA Protests Anew Illegal Presence of Chinese Vessels in Philippine Waters

PASAY CITY 23 April 2021 - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has lodged on 21 April two new diplomatic notes in protest of the continued deployment, lingering presence, and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones. The presence of these vessels blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.   

The new diplomatic protests were in addition to the daily protests being filed by the DFA against the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef.

As of 20 April 2021, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies observed the continued unauthorized presence and activities of a total of one hundred sixty (160) Chinese Fishing Vessels and Chinese Maritime Militia Vessels in Philippine waters. The vessels were observed within the territorial sea of high tide features in the Kalayaan Island Group, in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and in and around the territorial waters of Bajo de Masinloc. Meanwhile five (5) Chinese Coast Guard vessels with bow numbers 3103, 3301, 3305, 5101, and 5203 were seen deployed within the vicinities of the Pag-asa Islands, Bajo de Masinloc and Ayungin Shoal.

Through these protests, the DFA reminded China that Bajo de Masinloc, Pag-asa Islands, Panata, Parola, Kota Islands, Chigua and Burgos Reefs are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction. The Philippines exercises sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Julian Felipe Reef and Ayungin Shoal.

The continued swarming and threatening presence of the Chinese vessels creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard of the commitments by China to promote peace and stability in the region.

The DFA has been demanding that China adhere to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the final and binding Arbitral Award of the 12 July 2016 South China Sea Arbitration. It has also reminded China of its commitments under the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, in particular the exercise of self-restraint pursuant to Paragraph 5 thereof, in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to the ongoing negotiations for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. END